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.
Oban
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby Oban » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:27 pm

I don't regret wustl. They gave me a bag o monies and its the best school I got into, so if i went somewhere else I'd probably have worse job opportunities.

Like flow, I've got some interviews at job fairs before OCI, and I've gotten responses to mass mails in my home market, I'm still waiting for several other job fairs, but right now not thinking kill self.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:23 pm

Hannibal wrote:Here's an post from the Volokh Conspiracy:

http://volokh.com/2010/01/16/thought-on ... ol-grades/

Important quote:

But there are two important reasons why grades may seem random when they are not. First, in law it’s hard to know how much or how little you know. It’s surprisingly easy to have a false sense of security, or a false sense of insecurity, about an exam. Most law school exam questions are “issue spotters,” and it’s quite hard to gauge how well you answered an issue-spotter. If you miss all of the big difficult issues, you will think that the problem is easy for you and that you totally aced it. If you see all of the big issues, you will think that the problem is impossibly hard and consider yourself a miserable failure for being unable to know for sure how to resolve all of the difficult questions. The more you know, the more you see the difficulties of the problem and the more you know how little you know. Of course, the student who sees all of the hard issues on an exam and grapples with those difficulties gets the highest grade. The student who misses the issues and wrongly thinks the hard questions are easy does poorly.

The second reason grades may seem random is that grades are curved. You are graded not on how well you did in an absolute sense, but rather on how well you did relative to everyone else in your class. This means that your grades won’t necessarily correlate with the quality of your answers: Instead, they correlate with the quality of your answers relative to your classmates. If you totally clicked with crim law, but hated and never understood civ pro, you may get a higher grade in civ pro than crim because lots of other people in the class felt the same way. (And as a crim law prof, I have to say, who can blame them?) Similarly, if the exam in a particular class was unusually hard, you may end up with a top grade in the course simply because you were less lost than most of your classmates. Self-perceptions of performance won’t always match the curve-induced reality.


The first reason from that quote is a moot point, because it's only talking about a phenomenon that occurs before you compare your answer to the model answer. If you later compare your answer to the model answer and realize that you DIDN'T miss any issues and you still got a median grade, then it's obviously something else, and not related to missing issues.

The second reason is the basis of my point. WUSTL is a school with a strong enough entering class that basically everyone gets almost all the issues. So instead of missing or getting issues, the mandatory curve forces the professors to look for other reasons to hand out points -- reasons that are unrelated to legal analysis.

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deebs
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby deebs » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:50 pm

Honestly, the rant about grades needs to stop or being taken off the internet. We all get the point, and you're probably turning incoming students away from posting. Yes, the middle grading can be random. It's not a dice roll between the guy who cali'd and the guy who got a 86. End of story.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:17 pm

Hannibal wrote:
JCougar wrote:We will have to agree to disagree then, because studies show there's little to no connection between grades and your ability to practice law, as long as you're not a slacker that fininishes in the bottom of the class due to poor or even average work ethic.

And whatever correlation there might be, no matter how small, could easily be the result of a student's increased sense of self-efficacy simply from receiving good grades, or the law partner's perception of that person's efficacy.


I'd like to see these studies, since it's hard for me to imagine a quantitative way to measure one's ability to practice law. Even so, we aren't talking about ability to practice law. It's entirely possible that the exams are somewhat effective at determining someone's ability to do strict legal analysis, but that ability isn't as important as things that exams don't measure (such as ability to politic, treat a client and paralegals, etc).


Here's what one top firm found (V25):
http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ ... w_success/

Law school rank and GPA were only moderately predictive of success, the study found. In general, one of the study’s authors, Ron Paquette, tells the ABA Journal, “The Harvard attorneys do not perform any better than those at the 30th-ranked law school.”

The study was conducted at a top 25 law firm trying to combat high associate attrition rates, according to a summary by the authors, consultants from Kerma Partners and Redwood, a unit of LexisNexis. The aim was to identify lawyer recruits who have the required educational credentials as well as the “stuff” to thrive at the law firm.

The study defined success as longer tenure at the firm, higher productivity, and being a good cultural fit, based on an evaluation by a human resources staffer.

The study identified 12 factors—Paquette wouldn't reveal them all—that are better predictors of success. Paquette, however, did identify one of them—participation in group hobbies and collegiate-level athletics. Another predictor of success, he said, was doing well in specific law school classes. He did not disclose the subjects.


“There’s no one in here who got bad grades,” he says. The study simply showed that those with top grades aren't much more likely to succeed than those with simply good grades. “If someone got a 2.0, I still would not hire them,” he adds, because the low grades could indicate low motivation.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:25 pm

deebs wrote:Honestly, the rant about grades needs to stop or being taken off the internet. We all get the point, and you're probably turning incoming students away from posting. Yes, the middle grading can be random. It's not a dice roll between the guy who cali'd and the guy who got a 86. End of story.


I don't want to totally hijack this thread, but this discussion started because incoming students wanted to know how to do well, and be prepared for what law school offers. I think this discussion is fairly relevant. It goes a lot deeper than the "if you didn't do well on law school exams, you either didn't study hard enough or you weren't smart enough, and you'll be a poor lawyer" mantra -- which happens to be a pretty deceiving mantra. If you want a realistic discussion of what factors actually go into law school success and what grades actually mean about your lawyering ability, there's probably few threads on this entire forum that are this frank.

Also, nobody asserted that it's a dice roll between an 86 and a 99/100.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:52 pm

Hannibal wrote:I'd like to see these studies, since it's hard for me to imagine a quantitative way to measure one's ability to practice law. Even so, we aren't talking about ability to practice law. It's entirely possible that the exams are somewhat effective at determining someone's ability to do strict legal analysis, but that ability isn't as important as things that exams don't measure (such as ability to politic, treat a client and paralegals, etc).


Also, here's an even better study done by a retired Berkeley professor:

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/admissions_study.htm

This is the kind of thorough and professional analysis that today's Fortune 500 businesses use to identify and evaluate job applicants. They came up with a test battery largely based on cognitive factors and personality factors that predicted success as a lawyer significantly better than the LSAT, UGPA, and Law School GPA do.

Also, note that in one of the appendices, you will find that the overall correlation between 1L GPA and measurements of success as a lawyer is negative, at -0.019.

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camstant
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby camstant » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:22 am

JCougar wrote:Also, here's an even better study done by a retired Berkeley professor:

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/admissions_study.htm

This is the kind of thorough and professional analysis that today's Fortune 500 businesses use to identify and evaluate job applicants. They came up with a test battery largely based on cognitive factors and personality factors that predicted success as a lawyer significantly better than the LSAT, UGPA, and Law School GPA do.

Also, note that in one of the appendices, you will find that the overall correlation between 1L GPA and measurements of success as a lawyer is negative, at -0.019.


baloney

seatown12
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby seatown12 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:33 am

JCougar wrote:I can't come up with the fluff in between that the model answers seem to come up with.

Instead of examining the facts and figuring out what law applies, examine your outline and try to work everything into your answer if it is at all feasible.

The key is not to discuss the issues in the context of the fact pattern, but to use the fact pattern to discuss the issues. You need to remember that the test is an opportunity to show that you have completely learned the material, not just answer a legal question. In this sense you are 100% right that exams are not at all analogous to real-life lawyering. They are however indicative of a student's ability to work within a system to outperform similarly situated competitors.

That said, I agree that this thread is becoming excessively hijacked. Maybe we could start another thread about law exams generally, since this topic is not specifically relevant to Wash U.

Oban
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby Oban » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:40 am

ITT: People with good grades defend system, people with mediocre grades bitch.

My advice to OLs: Take all the advice from the top grade people(arrow, Xeo,etc) , try to work hard, but enough to feel like you are giving it your best, not enough to stress your self out horribly. After Fall grades, if it's working it's working, if not change things up. If you get meh grades, don't hate your self, but think realistically about job search etc.

Anyway, I can't wait until the real shitshow starts after OCI when people start bitching about hiring.

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Hannibal
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby Hannibal » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:58 am

In that ABA article, the criteria they list show just how they're looking at this:

The study defined success as longer tenure at the firm, higher productivity, and being a good cultural fit, based on an evaluation by a human resources staffer.


None of those (save production...maybe) have anything to do with legal analysis. It's a study of a single V25 firm. It's the same effect as having a small LSAT and UGPA traunch for all these law schools; the predictive effect of the numbers is muted since they're mostly from the same area. And small effect it has is drowned out by all the non-analysis parts of being a lawyer. Which are the only things they studied. And of course, studying a single V25, with 1,200 associates, as reported by human resource officials. Not exactly a scientific way of studying lawyering success.

As for the Berkeley study, beyond all of the problems that go with picking traits and assigning people values, all from two schools, in a voluntary test, it still indicates that those who are evaluating the students in question think more highly of the people with good 1L grades than those with those grades. If we learned anything, it's that students from UC Berkeley and Hastings with good 1L grades have a self-doubt streak. In fact, to everyone but themselves, the grades corresponded significantly to analysis and reasoning, creativity, problem solving, research ability, writing, and strategic planning (but negatively to networking, lolooololol).

But still, I don't think anyone's saying it's a perfect or very good predictor of ability to actually be a lawyer. But that doesn't go anywhere in saying it's all about empty word count, stroking the professor's ego, or anything like that.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:15 am

Oban wrote:ITT: People with good grades defend system, people with mediocre grades bitch.

My advice to OLs: Take all the advice from the top grade people(arrow, Xeo,etc) , try to work hard, but enough to feel like you are giving it your best, not enough to stress your self out horribly. After Fall grades, if it's working it's working, if not change things up. If you get meh grades, don't hate your self, but think realistically about job search etc.

Anyway, I can't wait until the real shitshow starts after OCI when people start bitching about hiring.


This is all I'm really trying to say, except you said it in a less adversarial fashion.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:47 am

camstant wrote:
JCougar wrote:Also, here's an even better study done by a retired Berkeley professor:

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/admissions_study.htm

This is the kind of thorough and professional analysis that today's Fortune 500 businesses use to identify and evaluate job applicants. They came up with a test battery largely based on cognitive factors and personality factors that predicted success as a lawyer significantly better than the LSAT, UGPA, and Law School GPA do.

Also, note that in one of the appendices, you will find that the overall correlation between 1L GPA and measurements of success as a lawyer is negative, at -0.019.


baloney


It's not baloney. There's an entire industry built around predicting future success of job applicants -- one that I used to be a part of. It's an incredibly successful industry. You'd be surprised at the amount of performance variance you can predict just from a simple cognitive ability test coupled with some personality factors.

The legal industry just happens to be 30-40 years behind the curve when it comes to Human Resources practices. It is an archaic, ritualistic institution that relies on faith and tradition rather than science and reason. The biggest of the Biglaw firms are just beginning to dip their toe into the pool and test the water, but eventually, they're all going to go this route. Associate turnover is extremely high in these firms, and it's costing the partners a ton of money. You had better believe now that the billable hour orgy is over that they're going to sober up and start implementing responsible hiring practices. And if the biggest firms are doing it, the others will be soon to follow.

This study shows that there is still a positive statistical correlation between 1L grades and things like analysis & reasoning, problem solving, and research (which is pretty much all you will be doing as an Associate Attorney anyway), but the level of correlation is so low (R^2 of about .01 for each) that it only predicts about 1% of the variance of each of these factors (even though it is a statistically significant 1%).

You can argue all you want about how the outcome variables are not perfectly determined, and that is true, but ultimately in the intellectual economy, it's your co-workers' judgments of your success that is the ultimate measure of outcome.

Ultimately, the data shows (as well as the V25 study) that grades should be a consideration, but certainly not one that overrides all other factors combined. Probably, grades should be treated as one equal factor among many others: prior work experience, the results of a few personality tests, a cognitive ability test, evidence of successful teamwork, interpersonal skills, evidence of focus and direction in a sub-field of law, and evidence of stability/intent to remain with the firm.

The fact that grades trump all of those other factors combined right now is the effect of a legal industry that is intellectually lazy in the realm of self-reflection -- and enabled by ill-informed clients that are willing to throw money at prestige alone.

That's enough, though. I'm done with this subject, at least on this thread. But this isn't meant to be a self-important, ego-defending rant on my part (whether you believe so or not). It's meant to give entering students a realistic perspective on things. There's no need to delve deeply into the hysteria about grades. That's not an invitation to not do your best, but everyone on this thread is probably smart enough to realize that. Work as hard as you possibly can. But this is also meant to be helpful advice, in that it should encourage all students, especially those in the top 10%, to develop companion skills to go along with their grades.
Last edited by JCougar on Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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camstant
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby camstant » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:53 am

JCougar wrote:
camstant wrote:
JCougar wrote:Also, here's an even better study done by a retired Berkeley professor:

http://www.law.berkeley.edu/admissions_study.htm

This is the kind of thorough and professional analysis that today's Fortune 500 businesses use to identify and evaluate job applicants. They came up with a test battery largely based on cognitive factors and personality factors that predicted success as a lawyer significantly better than the LSAT, UGPA, and Law School GPA do.

Also, note that in one of the appendices, you will find that the overall correlation between 1L GPA and measurements of success as a lawyer is negative, at -0.019.


baloney


It's not baloney. There's an entire industry built around predicting future success of job applicants -- one that I used to be a part of. It's an incredibly successful industry. You'd be surprised at the amount of performance variance you can predict just from a simple cognitive ability test coupled with some personality factors.

The legal industry just happens to be 30-40 years behind the curve when it comes to Human Resources practices. It is an archaic, ritualistic institution that relies on faith and tradition rather than science and reason.

This study shows that there is still a positive statistical correlation between 1L grades and things like analysis & reasoning, problem solving, and research (which is pretty much all you will be doing as an Associate Attorney anyway), but the level of correlation is so low (R^2 of about .01 for each) that it only predicts about 1% of the variance of each of these factors (even though it is a statistically significant 1%).

You can argue all you want about how the outcome variables are not perfectly determined, and that is true, but ultimately in the intellectual economy, it's your co-workers' judgments of your success that is the ultimate measure of outcome.

Ultimately, the data shows (as well as the V25 study) that grades should be a consideration, but certainly not one that overrides all other factors combined. Probably, grades should be treated as one equal factor among many others: prior work experience, the results of a few personality tests, a cognitive ability test, evidence of successful teamwork, interpersonal skills, evidence of focus and direction, and evidence of stability/intent to remain with the firm.

The fact that grades trump all of those other factors combined right now is the effect of a legal industry that is intellectually lazy in the realm of self-reflection -- and enabled by ill-informed clients that are willing to throw money at prestige alone.

That's enough, though. I'm done with this subject, at least on this thread. But this isn't meant to be a self-important, ego-defending rant on my part (whether you believe so or not). It's meant to give entering students a realistic perspective on things. There's no need to delve deeply into the hysteria about grades. That's not an invitation to not do your best, but everyone on this thread is probably smart enough to realize that.


I'm just messing with ya. But yeah, the process doesn't make much sense.

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aerogear
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby aerogear » Sat Jul 16, 2011 4:24 am

I apologize for being a lazy bastard and not using the search button, but I was curious about the on campus and off campus housing. Pros and cons for both if possible. Also, are there a lot of part time jobs available on campus? What kind of clubs and organizations are there?

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TatteredDignity
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby TatteredDignity » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:16 am

JCoug- Wouldn't the candidates with the cognitive ability firms should be looking for also know how to manipulate those personality tests? From what I've seen of them, they're pretty transparent.

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JCougar
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby JCougar » Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:12 am

0LNewbie wrote:JCoug- Wouldn't the candidates with the cognitive ability firms should be looking for also know how to manipulate those personality tests? From what I've seen of them, they're pretty transparent.


A lot of them are either forced choice: you're forced to choose between two equally desirable yet different alternatives, or many of them have lie scales built in. Forced choice tests have proven to be fairly effective. There's definitely ways to weed out people who try to manipulate personality tests. They're not perfect, but they're used widely in the business world, and generally add a worthwhile amount of predictive value over job success outcomes. People trying to cheat them haven't caused a problem there yet, at least. It's kind of hard to manipulate them because it's hard to know what kind of personality profile each business is looking for (although there's some traits that virtually all of them are looking for). If you had that kind of insider information, though, you may be able to cheat. But if they're used in conjunction with other measures, it limits the effects.

Also, it's a lot easier to bullshit on an interview than it is to manipulate the results of a personality test. A lot of firms make no secret the kind of competencies they are looking for. All you have to do is project yourself as one of those people.

In the legal world, personality measures probably have a disproportionately high value, since most people applying to biglaw are already clustered in the very high cognitive ability range, and therefore a cognitive ability test isn't going to differentiate one candidate from another as much.

seatown12
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby seatown12 » Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:26 pm

aerogear wrote:I apologize for being a lazy bastard and not using the search button, but I was curious about the on campus and off campus housing. Pros and cons for both if possible. Also, are there a lot of part time jobs available on campus? What kind of clubs and organizations are there?

There is no on campus law student housing as far as I know, but it isn't needed since there are so many decent affordable options nearby campus. Look back a couple pages in this discussion for more info.

I don't think there are many on campus jobs available either, and the ones that exist are menial UG crap. I think you'd have better luck with craigslist, but I'm not really sure.

Here's a page about student organizations, and a lot of people do intramurals also.

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aerogear
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby aerogear » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:47 pm

seatown12 wrote:
aerogear wrote:I apologize for being a lazy bastard and not using the search button, but I was curious about the on campus and off campus housing. Pros and cons for both if possible. Also, are there a lot of part time jobs available on campus? What kind of clubs and organizations are there?

There is no on campus law student housing as far as I know, but it isn't needed since there are so many decent affordable options nearby campus. Look back a couple pages in this discussion for more info.

I don't think there are many on campus jobs available either, and the ones that exist are menial UG crap. I think you'd have better luck with craigslist, but I'm not really sure.

Here's a page about student organizations, and a lot of people do intramurals also.


Thanks, much appreciated.

840e
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby 840e » Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:59 pm

.
Last edited by 840e on Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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romothesavior
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby romothesavior » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:04 pm

840e wrote:sorry if a repeat... how is OCI currently looking for 2Ls? Also, is there a healthy amount of 3L recruiting at WUSTL? (best of luck to those currently in the process)

IMO, the OCI list is slightly worse than anticipated, but I didn't have high hopes coming in. Most sizeable firms from STL are coming, and there are a decent number from Chicago, Dallas, and mid-sized cities around the Midwest. There are a few from D.C./NYC/Boston/Cali/etc., but the primary OCI opportunities for those locations are at off-campus programs.

The most important thing to remember as a rising 2L is that you should be doing a job hunt concurrently with OCI. Don't rely on OCI or the CSO to get yourself a job.

There is more discussion on OCI a few pages back (you just have to wade through the 6 pages of the "Gradez r randum" bickering).

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fl0w
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby fl0w » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:27 pm

romothesavior wrote:
840e wrote:There are a few from D.C./NYC/Boston/Cali/etc., but the primary OCI opportunities for those locations are at off-campus programs.


Not necessarily true for Cal. If you take a look at wustl's west coast off-campus program... it's EXTREMELY SAD. 5 positions total, only 2 of which are actually IN Cal.

So OCI actually has more Cal. options I think. Those of us shooting for Cal. really have to "hit the pavement" to use Romo's words.

seatown12
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby seatown12 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:50 pm

The West Coast program was actually cancelled last year as I recall, so 5 is a huge improvement.

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fl0w
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby fl0w » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:56 pm

seatown12 wrote:The West Coast program was actually cancelled last year as I recall, so 5 is a huge improvement.


yeah. infinite improvement over zero :lol:

pdftlvson
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby pdftlvson » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:16 pm

Sorry if this has been asked already, but is anyone familiar with the transnational law program? It doesn't sound like any of the posters are in the program, but do any of you know other students who are? How have their experiences been? Is there funding available for the fourth year? BTW I toured the campus last Tuesday and it is gorgeous (I probably would have found it even more beautiful had it not been 97 degrees outside...)!

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fl0w
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Re: WUSTL 2L Taking Questions

Postby fl0w » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:26 pm

pdftlvson wrote:Sorry if this has been asked already, but is anyone familiar with the transnational law program? It doesn't sound like any of the posters are in the program, but do any of you know other students who are? How have their experiences been? Is there funding available for the fourth year? BTW I toured the campus last Tuesday and it is gorgeous (I probably would have found it even more beautiful had it not been 97 degrees outside...)!


not in it, but know someone in it. hard to say if it's for you w/o knowing what your goals are. but i would think you'd have to have a strong interest in practicing in another country for TLP to really be "worth it." Or practicing here but in an area where you deal a LOT with the laws of another country in particular.

There is an option of just studying abroad if you're interested in that as well.
But get in touch w/ the dean in charge of the program (Dean Peil)




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