UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
bill_swerski
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby bill_swerski » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:10 am

alpinespring wrote:Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

Just out of curiosity: How would you describe the people who rank in the top 30% / 10% at Chicago?

When academic superstars from all across America (and the world) gather in one place, I wonder who makes it to the top. When ~200 summa / magna cum laudes compete.... most with similar cognitive horsepower (as measured by LSAT)... what's the distinguishing factor?

Is it the gifted/savant types? Photographic memory? Feel like there's a clear limit to how much effort and discipline can make a difference? Do you need to be born with a certain talent (reading for 10 hours straight, etc) to do well at Chicago?

Thank you in advance.


You have to be good at law school exams, although I am not sure how that correlates with overall intelligence.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:01 am

alpinespring wrote:Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

Just out of curiosity: How would you describe the people who rank in the top 30% / 10% at Chicago?

When academic superstars from all across America (and the world) gather in one place, I wonder who makes it to the top. When ~200 summa / magna cum laudes compete.... most with similar cognitive horsepower (as measured by LSAT)... what's the distinguishing factor?

Is it the gifted/savant types? Photographic memory? Feel like there's a clear limit to how much effort and discipline can make a difference? Do you need to be born with a certain talent (reading for 10 hours straight, etc) to do well at Chicago?

Thank you in advance.


Lol. I know this doesn't seem super useful or responsive now but it is.

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HillandHollow
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby HillandHollow » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:20 pm

alpinespring wrote:Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

Just out of curiosity: How would you describe the people who rank in the top 30% / 10% at Chicago?

When academic superstars from all across America (and the world) gather in one place, I wonder who makes it to the top. When ~200 summa / magna cum laudes compete.... most with similar cognitive horsepower (as measured by LSAT)... what's the distinguishing factor?

Is it the gifted/savant types? Photographic memory? Feel like there's a clear limit to how much effort and discipline can make a difference? Do you need to be born with a certain talent (reading for 10 hours straight, etc) to do well at Chicago?

Thank you in advance.


Bottom 70% all work hard, and are pretty smart across the board.
Top 30% all work hard, and are smart across the board.
Top 10% all work really hard, and also seem to have an extra gear (in either work ethic or raw intellect).
None of these groups is distinct, phenotypically-speaking. Some of the most affable and outgoing people I knew ended up in that 10% world, whereas some of the classic UChicago "awkward" types couldn't make median. Godot works in mysterious ways.
It is my belief that anyone who gains admittance to UC has the tools to make top 30%, but a combination of factors (including basic math) prevent that from happening. I do *not* think that every person admitted can be top 10%, but who knows.

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HillandHollow
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby HillandHollow » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:22 pm

xn3345 wrote:What should a dude wear to an admitted students reception at a fancy firm in NY?


It's better to be overdressed than under. Probably a suit and tie. If it is a cocktail reception event, you can probably relax some of the "rules" of business attire (there is a thread on this somewhere else). Also, feel free to call whoever invited you and ask.

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HillandHollow
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby HillandHollow » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:35 pm

poptart123 wrote:
charmonster wrote:
poptart123 wrote:When I look at the 2015 employment data there are 11 graduates in university funded positions. What do these positions generally include? Are they a sort of fellowships or are they like admissions office work?


They are one-year public interest fellowship positions. You find an org willing to sponsor, the school pays you to work there for a year. Pretty good gig to get off the ground in public interest—gives you time to pass the bar and hustle. Generally not somewhere that firm-bound people want to end up, but it happens.


So are these fellowships people seek and are somewhat competitive or are they fellowships where somebody without a job lined up falls into?



Both. There are a lot of PI orgs that cannot afford to hire right out of law school and these fellowships are the only way to get in the door there. There are also a lot of PI orgs that don't generally hire out of law school (ACLU) but who will allow you to work there if you bring your own funding. Obviously having a fellowship at ACLU carries resume weight, so even though you won't get hired on at the end of the year, you have a better chance of going to another good PI org.

Do not buy in to the common myth that these are available to all students who need them (read: students without jobs come April). Though the school does set up a respectable number of people this way (they are not super open about just how many are available, since they'd rather you get money from elsewhere), I know of several people who applied for a fellowship through the school and did not get one. I only know that they didn't get one, but not why.

WheninLaw
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby WheninLaw » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:28 pm

alpinespring wrote:Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

Just out of curiosity: How would you describe the people who rank in the top 30% / 10% at Chicago?

When academic superstars from all across America (and the world) gather in one place, I wonder who makes it to the top. When ~200 summa / magna cum laudes compete.... most with similar cognitive horsepower (as measured by LSAT)... what's the distinguishing factor?

Is it the gifted/savant types? Photographic memory? Feel like there's a clear limit to how much effort and discipline can make a difference? Do you need to be born with a certain talent (reading for 10 hours straight, etc) to do well at Chicago?

Thank you in advance.


To do well at any law school: 1) good at taking law school exams; 2) typing ability; and 3) studying.

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call-me-bubbles
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby call-me-bubbles » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:27 pm

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Last edited by call-me-bubbles on Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bill_swerski
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby bill_swerski » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:37 pm

All law schools are competitive because of the curve, there is no escaping that (except for Yale)

I don't think Chicago is markedly different than NYU, Harvard, Columbia, UVA, etc. Perhaps it might be slightly more competitive in the sense that it's grading system is different (I.e. there are 7 types of As, from 180 to 186). But it doesn't matter in the end.

charmonster
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby charmonster » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:40 pm

call-me-bubbles wrote:I know UChi's undergrad is affectionately referred to as "where fun goes to die," but what's the vibe at the law school? I wouldn't expect it to match the "collegial" environment of UVA, what with its Southern hospitality and all, but is UChi really that intense and cutthroat? What I'm looking for in a law school: solid employment outcomes, reasonable financial aid package/manageable (<$100,000 total) debt, supportive rather than cutthroat environment, decently strong job market in the surrounding area for my SO. I think UChi would meet all of these, and I'd be willing to deal with the weather for three years, but I'm not sure about the "supportive rather than cutthroat environment" part. Abroad until later this spring, so unfortunately visiting isn't an option.


I think you are mixing up a lot of slightly different but mostly wrong stereotypes. Outside of some unpleasant weeks 1L year, the law school is not remotely "where fun goes to die." I've never found it remotely cutthroat, but instead collaborative and friendly. It is intense, but in an academic or intellectual way, not in a competitive or cutthroat sense. It's the sort of place where professors ask tough cold calls, but also seem genuinely interested in getting to know you outside of class.

I mean, I wouldn't tell you to come here over a free ride at UVA, but at the right COA it's a great option for anyone and shouldn't be turned down because of these culture concerns.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:42 pm

bill_swerski wrote:All law schools are competitive because of the curve, there is no escaping that (except for Yale)

I don't think Chicago is markedly different than NYU, Harvard, Columbia, UVA, etc. Perhaps it might be slightly more competitive in the sense that it's grading system is different (I.e. there are 7 types of As, from 180 to 186). But it doesn't matter in the end.


If you're the type of person who cares about the difference between a 180 and a 186 you're probably not going to be chill wherever you go to law school.

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3pianists
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby 3pianists » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:24 pm

call-me-bubbles wrote:I know UChi's undergrad is affectionately referred to as "where fun goes to die," but what's the vibe at the law school? I wouldn't expect it to match the "collegial" environment of UVA, what with its Southern hospitality and all, but is UChi really that intense and cutthroat? What I'm looking for in a law school: solid employment outcomes, reasonable financial aid package/manageable (<$100,000 total) debt, supportive rather than cutthroat environment, decently strong job market in the surrounding area for my SO. I think UChi would meet all of these, and I'd be willing to deal with the weather for three years, but I'm not sure about the "supportive rather than cutthroat environment" part. Abroad until later this spring, so unfortunately visiting isn't an option.


I don't know a lot about other law schools, but there is certainly a lot of collegiality here, even during 1L. I'd describe it as a fundamentally competitive group of people mashed together and trying to be decent to each other. People are always happy to provide class notes; they're perfectly willing to be genuine friends, and they're happy to study together. Naturally, there are a few idiots. But it's as full of decent people and collegial as I can imagine given the nature of law school curves. And regarding the seven kinds of A's comment above, I don't know any other 1Ls' grades. I feel competition with myself to move from one kind of A to another; competition with my classmates is a distant secondary consideration. In that way, the grade gradations could actually work to make the class less competitive.

lurkin_hard
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby lurkin_hard » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:49 pm

2014 wrote:
Necho2 wrote:Ok so know that we have our grades (2 whole classes worth...), anybody able to contribute a little more color on what they mean beyond what is says on the school website? Like is it even useful to ask what the distribution is across those letter grades correlated to different numbers?


Terribly imperfect BUT:

170-172 - C- (Discretionary)
173, 174 - C (5%)
175 - C+/B- (5%)
176 - B- (10%)
177 - B-/B (30%)
178 - B/B+ (20%)
179 - B+ (10%)
180 - A- (10%)
181, 182 - A (5%)
183 - A+ (<5%)
184-186 - A++ (Discretionary)

I'm firing from the hip on distribution, but based on anecdata i generally assume that 49.9% are 178 or above (e.g. the school seems to do everything it can to make (a) 177 median, (b) the curve look somewhat normal and (c) helping ensure the maximum students in any given class are "above median").

I also say that with the massive caveat that LRW, seminars and clinics will differ and in paper classes (vs exam) I think there's a more flexible (flatter) curve.

I now look forward to a hero this thread needs coming in to flex their intellect by DESTROYING my massively caveated spectrum.


Anyone know how accurate this is? I've heard that 185s and 186s are practically non-existent, but don't have much of an idea of the percentages beyond that.

Also, any idea of the LR and K&E cutoffs last year?

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Lordcarnus123
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby Lordcarnus123 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:25 am

For those who chose Chicago over Columbia (assume same $$) - why?

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby BlendedUnicorn » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:30 am

Lordcarnus123 wrote:For those who chose Chicago over Columbia (assume same $$) - why?


Smaller class overall and Chicago >>> (and cheaper than) NYC.

curry1
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby curry1 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:52 am

Looking at the clerkship data on the ASW, it seems that there was a massive and anomalous upswing last year in terms of clerkships (close to 35% of the class got a clerkship, obviously a lot are alumni clerks). Is there any identifiable reason for this shift and do you see Chicago's clerkship placement on the rise or was this just a weird year?

charmonster
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby charmonster » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:34 pm

curry1 wrote:Looking at the clerkship data on the ASW, it seems that there was a massive and anomalous upswing last year in terms of clerkships (close to 35% of the class got a clerkship, obviously a lot are alumni clerks). Is there any identifiable reason for this shift and do you see Chicago's clerkship placement on the rise or was this just a weird year?


This illustrates the jump you are talking about, I think: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/ca ... clerkships

Saying that's 35% of the class is an overstatement because like you said some of the 2016 term clerks are alumni and some people do multiple clerkships. I'm not sure if it is anomalous but there's a similar number of 2017 term clerks so I wouldn't be surprised if we see 80 clerkships per year going forward.

As for why, it could be the Rubenstein scholarship. Even though there are only so many spots at the top of the class it seems like some Rubies without great grades get clerkships through back channels, plus the scholarship freed up money for other students too and overall there are more people who don't have to worry about watching their debt go nuts while they dick around. It could be more new faculty who seem to really be going to bat for students. I think it might also be growing interest in district court positions (which didn't used to be a focus here for some reason). If that's why it could just be more people doing two clerkships rather than more people getting the opportunity to clerk, which doesn't mean more people are clerking now but in the long run could be helpful (maybe) because it makes a larger pool of judges with some kind of connection back to UChi or at least with clerks you could talk to.

I wouldn't go so far as to say UChicago beats Yale or Stanford for clerkship opportunities obviously but we are definitely closer to 20 or 25% than 15% these days and our clerkship office is really good.
Last edited by charmonster on Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

WheninLaw
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby WheninLaw » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:40 pm

lurkin_hard wrote:
2014 wrote:
Necho2 wrote:Ok so know that we have our grades (2 whole classes worth...), anybody able to contribute a little more color on what they mean beyond what is says on the school website? Like is it even useful to ask what the distribution is across those letter grades correlated to different numbers?


Terribly imperfect BUT:

170-172 - C- (Discretionary)
173, 174 - C (5%)
175 - C+/B- (5%)
176 - B- (10%)
177 - B-/B (30%)
178 - B/B+ (20%)
179 - B+ (10%)
180 - A- (10%)
181, 182 - A (5%)
183 - A+ (<5%)
184-186 - A++ (Discretionary)

I'm firing from the hip on distribution, but based on anecdata i generally assume that 49.9% are 178 or above (e.g. the school seems to do everything it can to make (a) 177 median, (b) the curve look somewhat normal and (c) helping ensure the maximum students in any given class are "above median").

I also say that with the massive caveat that LRW, seminars and clinics will differ and in paper classes (vs exam) I think there's a more flexible (flatter) curve.

I now look forward to a hero this thread needs coming in to flex their intellect by DESTROYING my massively caveated spectrum.


Anyone know how accurate this is? I've heard that 185s and 186s are practically non-existent, but don't have much of an idea of the percentages beyond that.

Also, any idea of the LR and K&E cutoffs last year?


Seems pretty accurate. FWIW, I got a couple 185s, and I knew of a few 186s. Depends more on professor than anything else.

Anecdotally, LR cutoff was around 180 flat and K&E was around 180.7.

WheninLaw
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby WheninLaw » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:44 pm

charmonster wrote:
curry1 wrote:Looking at the clerkship data on the ASW, it seems that there was a massive and anomalous upswing last year in terms of clerkships (close to 35% of the class got a clerkship, obviously a lot are alumni clerks). Is there any identifiable reason for this shift and do you see Chicago's clerkship placement on the rise or was this just a weird year?


This illustrates the jump you are talking about, I think: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/ca ... clerkships

Saying that's 35% of the class is an overstatement because like you said some of the 2016 term clerks are alumni and some people do multiple clerkships. I'm not sure if it is anomalous but there's a similar number of 2017 term clerks so I wouldn't be surprised if we see 80 clerkships per year going forward.

As for why, it could be the Rubenstein scholarship. Even though there are only so many spots at the top of the class it seems like some Rubies without great grades get clerkships through back channels (ahem), plus the scholarship freed up money for other students too and overall there are more people who don't have to worry about watching their debt go nuts while they dick around. It could be more new faculty who seem to really be going to bat for students. I think it might also be growing interest in district court positions (which didn't used to be a focus here for some reason). If that's why it could just be more people doing two clerkships rather than more people getting the opportunity to clerk, which doesn't mean more people are clerking now but in the long run could be helpful (maybe) because it makes a larger pool of judges with some kind of connection back to UChi or at least with clerks you could talk to.

I wouldn't go so far as to say UChicago beats Yale or Stanford for clerkship opportunities obviously but we are definitely closer to 20 or 25% than 15% these days and our clerkship office is really good.


I think it is due primarily to more students wanting to clerk (less need for Biglaw $$ for a variety of reasons). As the above poster said, a greater volume of clerks means more opportunities for other students; all your applications are reviewed by clerks before they get to the Judge. I will snatch up any good Chicago app I see and push it hard to the judge.

I disagree about the quality of our clerkship office. I think they are mediocre to bad. The office itself puts resources into the K&E's, but otherwise, you are on your own. Mortara probably gets UoC students more clerkships than the rest of the school combined.

charmonster
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby charmonster » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:47 pm

WheninLaw wrote:
lurkin_hard wrote:Anyone know how accurate this is? I've heard that 185s and 186s are practically non-existent, but don't have much of an idea of the percentages beyond that.

Also, any idea of the LR and K&E cutoffs last year?


Seems pretty accurate. FWIW, I got a couple 185s, and I knew of a few 186s. Depends more on professor than anything else.

Anecdotally, LR cutoff was around 180 flat and K&E was around 180.7.


Idk, definitely not accurate for the Hammer. There is some variation between professors. I think the tails are longer than this distribution suggests even if it is broadly right.

I'm not a 2L so maybe I am misinformed but I heard K&E was 181+ last year.

WheninLaw
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby WheninLaw » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:54 pm

charmonster wrote:
WheninLaw wrote:
lurkin_hard wrote:Anyone know how accurate this is? I've heard that 185s and 186s are practically non-existent, but don't have much of an idea of the percentages beyond that.

Also, any idea of the LR and K&E cutoffs last year?


Seems pretty accurate. FWIW, I got a couple 185s, and I knew of a few 186s. Depends more on professor than anything else.

Anecdotally, LR cutoff was around 180 flat and K&E was around 180.7.


Idk, definitely not accurate for the Hammer. There is some variation between professors. I think the tails are longer than this distribution suggests even if it is broadly right.

I'm not a 2L so maybe I am misinformed but I heard K&E was 181+ last year.


Hammer is on his own island. Doesn't make sense to factor him into the typical distribution.

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call-me-bubbles
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby call-me-bubbles » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:03 pm

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Last edited by call-me-bubbles on Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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chicago-gunner123
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby chicago-gunner123 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:14 pm

call-me-bubbles wrote:Going off of previous questions: Do you guys feel that the ranking, reputation, and solid employment stats of UChi remove the cutthroatness present at a lot of law schools? I know UChi is known for being academically intense, and I know competition is real wherever there are grades, but intensity and competition don't have to equal cutthroat.

ex. Is this just typical UChi intensity/perfectionism, or is it genuine concern about being able to find a job that's driving a discussion of whether a certain class's cutoff (for As) was 180.7 vs. 181?


I can say confidently that there is no difference in job prospects between a 180.7 and 181 lol.

I do not think the culture here is cut-throat. People obviously care about their own grades and they study a lot, but no one spends time focusing on other people's grades or trying to make other people do worse. Whenever I missed a class 1L year, people sent notes I missed almost immediately without me even asking. Most people are willing to share outlines and I have never heard of any exclusive study groups. It is a generally nice, collaborative culture at the law school. But again, that doesn't mean people don't care/obsess over their own grades.

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call-me-bubbles
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby call-me-bubbles » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:16 pm

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Last edited by call-me-bubbles on Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

charmonster
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby charmonster » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:26 pm

To echo the above poster I think you are confusing the compulsive need to correct internet strangers with being cutthroat. UChi is very collegial and friendly. I have never felt like I am directly competing with anyone over anything other than leftover lunch talk food. Worrying about the K&E cutoff is something gunnery 1Ls have done from time immemorial (see: this thread) but there is almost no conversation about grades or honors at the law school on an everyday basis. People are academically intense in that they spend a fair amount of time studying for class and seem to be motivated to do well for themselves, but not in that they are competing with anyone else. Classes are too big and the grading system too incomprehensible for anyone to get worked up about how the guy next to them is doing.

Come visit the law school and you'll see it's no different than any peer schools in this respect. In fact in fall of 1L it's probably the chillest law school in the T-14 other than Yale (although spring makes up for that).

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call-me-bubbles
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Re: UChi Students & Alumni Taking Questions

Postby call-me-bubbles » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:44 am

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