Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
rshin12
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby rshin12 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:10 am

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Last edited by rshin12 on Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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GeePee
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby GeePee » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:24 am

rshin12 wrote:How often are LPs given? And, how much work do you guys average a night?

LPs are professor specific, but I would say the majority view is that LP's are only for truly lackluster exams -- like, exhibited extremely flawed or no knowledge of important elements of the class.

I probably averaged median 2-3 hours of work a night my first semester (more when memos were due or exams were imminent, but basically 0 every Friday and Saturday). I worked considerably less second semester and did better, but I don't think I could have done as well as I did had I not learned the ins and outs by working hard to get the baseline understanding of opinions and legal argument.

fumagalli
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby fumagalli » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:16 pm

Do students rarely date each other at HLS? Then, how do law school students who are single meet someone new? Do you even have time for that?

Suddenly this became an important issue for me. :lol:

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GeePee
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby GeePee » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:31 pm

fumagalli wrote:Do students rarely date each other at HLS? Then, how do law school students who are single meet someone new? Do you even have time for that?

Suddenly this became an important issue for me. :lol:

I'd say student relationships are fairly common. I know several.

There are a lot of twenty-something people in Boston, and there are several other schools at Harvard in particular. I don't think you'll struggle to meet people your own age if you're generally sociable and outgoing.

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:55 pm

fumagalli wrote:Do students rarely date each other at HLS? Then, how do law school students who are single meet someone new? Do you even have time for that?

Suddenly this became an important issue for me. :lol:
Half my section is dating. And they're dating the other half of my section.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:23 pm

fumagalli wrote:Do students rarely date each other at HLS? Then, how do law school students who are single meet someone new? Do you even have time for that?

Suddenly this became an important issue for me. :lol:


A lot of HLS students date each other. Throughout the years people couple off all the way through till graduation.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:28 pm

delusional wrote:
tomwatts wrote:Everything that I've heard says that it is something like 6-7 DSs and the rest Hs. You've got to be pretty darn smart, but you've also got to be lucky. Everything has to go your way in two separate semesters.
I'm curious if you've heard anything concrete about this. I guess you definitely have to be smart and lucky, but are there enough smart people for one of them to get this lucky? Also, when you get the 7 DSs, do you then feel ripped off having to settle for Williams & Connelly for 2L summer?

Only second- or third-hand. Given what I've seen, I'm pretty sure that there are people who do this, though.

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Ballislife
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Ballislife » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:14 am

Any ideas on when would be a good time to start outlining as a 1L?

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:41 am

Ballislife wrote:Any ideas on when would be a good time to start outlining as a 1L?


I never did.

Some people outline as they go. Others find it more useful to wait for it to finish and review by outlining.

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:46 am

acrossthelake wrote:
Ballislife wrote:Any ideas on when would be a good time to start outlining as a 1L?


I never did.

Some people outline as they go. Others find it more useful to wait for it to finish and review by outlining.


You are awesome. I wish I had the chutzpah to do that. I started outlining the first day of class. Had these mega outlines that were ungodly pages long and I had to keep trimming them without taking the good stuff out, I should have used that time to study. Second semester I became a lot more efficient only wrote down important stuff compared that with past outlines and made very direct attack outlines. I did quite a bit better second semester but I'm glad I went through first semester.

idk
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby idk » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:59 pm

LRW is kicking my butt. My other classes are going well enough, but I just can't seem to hack legal writing. The assignments seem straightforward, but I just don't have a sense of what the instructors are looking for. I never know how to decide which of the appropriate case(s) I should use as my rule proof, how much time to spend describing the rule and applying it to the case at hand, how to fully communicate my arguments without wasting space.

I am kind of ashamed to be so incompetent, but I guess I have to start somewhere...any suggestions on how to figure these things out?
My Climenko Fellow seems to be checked out and doesn't give feedback. :(

Thanks so much for any suggestions you can give! :)

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:16 pm

idk wrote:LRW is kicking my butt. My other classes are going well enough, but I just can't seem to hack legal writing. The assignments seem straightforward, but I just don't have a sense of what the instructors are looking for. I never know how to decide which of the appropriate case(s) I should use as my rule proof, how much time to spend describing the rule and applying it to the case at hand, how to fully communicate my arguments without wasting space.

I am kind of ashamed to be so incompetent, but I guess I have to start somewhere...any suggestions on how to figure these things out?
My Climenko Fellow seems to be checked out and doesn't give feedback. :(

Thanks so much for any suggestions you can give! :)


Talk to your BSA, they should be able to help you out. As for which case pulling your rule, it doesn't really matter. How much time describing the rule, well it depends. Probably 2-3 sentences at least, and perhaps longer, depending on how nuanced/complicated the rule is, you really want to flesh out the rule and the nuance of the rule. You want to synthesize the rule from the case too if possible, rather than quoting. Then, depending on how analogous the case is you could discuss the case in a few sentences, but you don't want to spend too much time on it. What do you mean "how to fully communicate your arguments"? I'm not quite sure what you mean here. You aren't really trying to argue here rather you're trying to predict the outcome neutrally. Determining exactly how much space to devote to developing the rule(s) and cases is kind of difficult, and comes through practice and experience. But roughly speaking, give space depending on how important it is. You don't need to devote equal space to 1 section if it is a pretty clear win for one side or another, even if you have lots of beneficial facts to work with, etc.

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bedefan
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby bedefan » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:56 am

Ballislife wrote:Any ideas on when would be a good time to start outlining as a 1L?


Most of the people I knew started with about 3-5 weeks of class left (not including reading days). I think fall I probably started with about 5 weeks left and spring with about 2 weeks left. Did better in the spring, but just barely.

The key is to give yourself enough time to think -- to figure out what the professor thinks is really important, to state it more cynically. But you don't want to give yourself too much time or start too early because you'll lack perspective and will include lots of useless info in your outline.

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bedefan
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby bedefan » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:04 am

idk wrote:LRW is kicking my butt. My other classes are going well enough, but I just can't seem to hack legal writing. The assignments seem straightforward, but I just don't have a sense of what the instructors are looking for. I never know how to decide which of the appropriate case(s) I should use as my rule proof, how much time to spend describing the rule and applying it to the case at hand, how to fully communicate my arguments without wasting space.

I am kind of ashamed to be so incompetent, but I guess I have to start somewhere...any suggestions on how to figure these things out?
My Climenko Fellow seems to be checked out and doesn't give feedback. :(

Thanks so much for any suggestions you can give! :)


First off try to stay positive. It's surprising but a lot of people find LRW to be their hardest class -- it's a different kind of writing without much room for fat, and it's graded more rigorously than writing in undergrad. Another thing to remember is you don't necessarily get points for originality. The nice thing about this is you don't have to reinvent the wheel -- the focus is on communicating information effectively, not on sounding creative.

What helped me a lot was just completely ripping off the examples of analysis memos they gave us -- in fact they may have given us only one (about intentional infliction of emotional distress and Cuba), but I just went paragraph by paragraph and copied what that memo was doing. I.e., "OK, paragraph one, looks like some kind of umbrella statement of the conclusion. Done. Paragraph two, looks like it paraphrases the rule in one sentence, then has two sentences with quotes to fill out the rule. Done." Obviously with different page limits you can't just copy an argument sentence by sentence, but doing some unabashed copying of structure gave me a feel for what I needed to do.

idk
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby idk » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:10 am

bedefan wrote:
idk wrote:LRW is kicking my butt. My other classes are going well enough, but I just can't seem to hack legal writing. The assignments seem straightforward, but I just don't have a sense of what the instructors are looking for. I never know how to decide which of the appropriate case(s) I should use as my rule proof, how much time to spend describing the rule and applying it to the case at hand, how to fully communicate my arguments without wasting space.

I am kind of ashamed to be so incompetent, but I guess I have to start somewhere...any suggestions on how to figure these things out?
My Climenko Fellow seems to be checked out and doesn't give feedback. :(

Thanks so much for any suggestions you can give! :)


First off try to stay positive. It's surprising but a lot of people find LRW to be their hardest class -- it's a different kind of writing without much room for fat, and it's graded more rigorously than writing in undergrad. Another thing to remember is you don't necessarily get points for originality. The nice thing about this is you don't have to reinvent the wheel -- the focus is on communicating information effectively, not on sounding creative.

What helped me a lot was just completely ripping off the examples of analysis memos they gave us -- in fact they may have given us only one (about intentional infliction of emotional distress and Cuba), but I just went paragraph by paragraph and copied what that memo was doing. I.e., "OK, paragraph one, looks like some kind of umbrella statement of the conclusion. Done. Paragraph two, looks like it paraphrases the rule in one sentence, then has two sentences with quotes to fill out the rule. Done." Obviously with different page limits you can't just copy an argument sentence by sentence, but doing some unabashed copying of structure gave me a feel for what I needed to do.

Thank you, that is an excellent idea! i believe they gave us the same iied sample u mentioned as well as a sample memo about adverse possession in vermont. i totally ignored those when preparing my own memo because they covered different legal issues...kicking myself right about now for missing the obvious

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:34 pm

idk wrote:
bedefan wrote:
idk wrote:LRW is kicking my butt. My other classes are going well enough, but I just can't seem to hack legal writing. The assignments seem straightforward, but I just don't have a sense of what the instructors are looking for. I never know how to decide which of the appropriate case(s) I should use as my rule proof, how much time to spend describing the rule and applying it to the case at hand, how to fully communicate my arguments without wasting space.

I am kind of ashamed to be so incompetent, but I guess I have to start somewhere...any suggestions on how to figure these things out?
My Climenko Fellow seems to be checked out and doesn't give feedback. :(

Thanks so much for any suggestions you can give! :)


First off try to stay positive. It's surprising but a lot of people find LRW to be their hardest class -- it's a different kind of writing without much room for fat, and it's graded more rigorously than writing in undergrad. Another thing to remember is you don't necessarily get points for originality. The nice thing about this is you don't have to reinvent the wheel -- the focus is on communicating information effectively, not on sounding creative.

What helped me a lot was just completely ripping off the examples of analysis memos they gave us -- in fact they may have given us only one (about intentional infliction of emotional distress and Cuba), but I just went paragraph by paragraph and copied what that memo was doing. I.e., "OK, paragraph one, looks like some kind of umbrella statement of the conclusion. Done. Paragraph two, looks like it paraphrases the rule in one sentence, then has two sentences with quotes to fill out the rule. Done." Obviously with different page limits you can't just copy an argument sentence by sentence, but doing some unabashed copying of structure gave me a feel for what I needed to do.

Thank you, that is an excellent idea! i believe they gave us the same iied sample u mentioned as well as a sample memo about adverse possession in vermont. i totally ignored those when preparing my own memo because they covered different legal issues...kicking myself right about now for missing the obvious

Some LRW tips from someone who's not good at it:
First, isolate the issues in your case. Then, isolate the rules from the cases that you're reading. Apply the rules to the issues in your case without thinking about the facts of the cited case. Imagine it as though you read the rule as a statute rather than as a holding. Once you have chosen which rules to apply, and how to apply them, use the facts that you like and are comparable between the case to bolster your argument.

Secondary sources are the best way to start, and are also the best way to continue. My personal favorite is Federal Practice and Procedure (Wright and Miller). Of course, it depends on what the assigned case is though. Even if the secondary source has no cases quite on point, it will at least lead you down the road toward the key numbers and headnotes that you can search through for more appropriate cases.

Another tip that is better for when you get to the open memo and appellate brief is to look at the cases that address the issues that you are dealing with, and read the briefs that were written on the case. They will often contain great cases that the court didn't cite, and lay out their arguments, which will be similar to the ones that you want to make, in a clear, high level way.

If you're in a place where that seems like too much, don't panic. I sucked at LRW, always felt like I was being asked to do more than I knew how, and like I was grasping in the dark. After working over the summer and getting somewhat better, I decided to participate in Moot Court to get more practice, and I finally feel like it's starting to make sense. You'll get it eventually.

idk
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby idk » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:22 pm

Thank you for all the helpful LRW advice! I really appreciate it. :)

If anyone had Rubenstein for civ pro and would be willing to answer a couple questions, please PM me! I don't want to waste space on the general Q&A thread.

rshin12
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby rshin12 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:11 pm

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Last edited by rshin12 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

roranoa
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby roranoa » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:47 am

Do you guys think law school grades correspond w/ success at Biglaw?

Okay, success is a big word. Then at least, would someone with good grades (from a upper t14 school) produce great work while working at Biglaw?

If you think law school grades are totally irrelevant to how well you do in Biglaw, what kind of skills do you think are actually important?

PMan99
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby PMan99 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:43 pm

Are upper level winter term courses Credit/NoCredit or actually graded?

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:47 pm

PMan99 wrote:Are upper level winter term courses Credit/NoCredit or actually graded?
Some of them have exams, so I imagine those are graded.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:58 pm

PMan99 wrote:Are upper level winter term courses Credit/NoCredit or actually graded?


I think they are actually graded, except for perhaps independent writing credits.

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englawyer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby englawyer » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:52 pm

delusional wrote:
PMan99 wrote:Are upper level winter term courses Credit/NoCredit or actually graded?
Some of them have exams, so I imagine those are graded.


i believe most are graded. a few are not (eg Trial Advocacy Workshop).

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Nom Sawyer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Nom Sawyer » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:15 pm

roranoa wrote:Do you guys think law school grades correspond w/ success at Biglaw?

Okay, success is a big word. Then at least, would someone with good grades (from a upper t14 school) produce great work while working at Biglaw?

If you think law school grades are totally irrelevant to how well you do in Biglaw, what kind of skills do you think are actually important?


Hmm I think depending on what you do grades can be more/ less relevant. Litigation work is a bit closer to what law school is more centered on while Corporate work probably has barely any correlation to grades (beyond the fact that people with high grades presumably are at least willing to put in long hours/ or can process information quickly). Of course the counter-argument is that people's motivation and work ethic can shift as you go from a school to a work environment.

The main problem is that, at this level, most people are all capable of doing Biglaw work, and the actual skills you need can be widely disparate depending on which of the many practice groups you end up in. In the end, I don't think there's too much you really need to worry about in terms of preparing for a Biglaw job... just make sure you don't treat your summer associate position like a complete vacation when you get there.

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:14 pm

roranoa wrote:Do you guys think law school grades correspond w/ success at Biglaw?

Okay, success is a big word. Then at least, would someone with good grades (from a upper t14 school) produce great work while working at Biglaw?

If you think law school grades are totally irrelevant to how well you do in Biglaw, what kind of skills do you think are actually important?
Considering that to an extent, intelligence is correlated with both good grades and success at law, there is probably a correlation. But since firms don't really seem to grades obsessed, at least here (and that's something in itself that can be interpreted twenty different ways), at least one authority seems to think the correlation is limited.

But I haven't worked at a firm yet, so that's all I got.




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