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.
idk
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby idk » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:00 am

1) Any advice on how to write a compelling cover letter for an RA position? Not sure exactly what the cover letter should include other than my interest/qualifications (maybe) for the particular type of research.

2) Has anyone been a research assistant for Dean Minow? If so, would you mind answering a few questions?

Thanks so much.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:52 pm

idk wrote:1) Any advice on how to write a compelling cover letter for an RA position? Not sure exactly what the cover letter should include other than my interest/qualifications (maybe) for the particular type of research.

2) Has anyone been a research assistant for Dean Minow? If so, would you mind answering a few questions?

Thanks so much.


Are you a 1L?

Jambalaya
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Jambalaya » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:01 pm

It seems like everyone in my section (7) has gotten great outlines from 2Ls and 3Ls they've met, but I'm totally out of the loop. I've joined a student group that gives access to outlines, but they have virtually nothing for two of my professors.
I'm writing my own outlines, but it would really help to see good versions of past ones. Any ideas on how I can do that?
Thank you.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:06 pm

Jambalaya wrote:It seems like everyone in my section (7) has gotten great outlines from 2Ls and 3Ls they've met, but I'm totally out of the loop. I've joined a student group that gives access to outlines, but they have virtually nothing for two of my professors.
I'm writing my own outlines, but it would really help to see good versions of past ones. Any ideas on how I can do that?
Thank you.


Befriend the 2Ls and 3Ls. Talk to your friends to see if they have any they wanna share. Make sure you have access to HLCentral.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:09 pm

Jambalaya wrote:It seems like everyone in my section (7) has gotten great outlines from 2Ls and 3Ls they've met, but I'm totally out of the loop. I've joined a student group that gives access to outlines, but they have virtually nothing for two of my professors.
I'm writing my own outlines, but it would really help to see good versions of past ones. Any ideas on how I can do that?
Thank you.


Odds are they're probably the ones available on HL Central or from ACS or Fed Soc. If you can't find one from one of those places, or perhaps an affinity group, there probably aren't some great outlines floating about really.

Sometimes there just aren't outlines available for a professor (i.e., a visiting prof, prof teaching the course for the first time, etc.). You got to make your own then.

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:31 am

ph14 wrote:
Jambalaya wrote:It seems like everyone in my section (7) has gotten great outlines from 2Ls and 3Ls they've met, but I'm totally out of the loop. I've joined a student group that gives access to outlines, but they have virtually nothing for two of my professors.
I'm writing my own outlines, but it would really help to see good versions of past ones. Any ideas on how I can do that?
Thank you.


Odds are they're probably the ones available on HL Central or from ACS or Fed Soc. If you can't find one from one of those places, or perhaps an affinity group, there probably aren't some great outlines floating about really.

Sometimes there just aren't outlines available for a professor (i.e., a visiting prof, prof teaching the course for the first time, etc.). You got to make your own then.
But even if you're making your own, you should make sure you have a couple other ones, maybe the ones on your other subjects, just to see what a good outline looks like. And just because an outline was hard to get doesn't mean it's better. Sometimes the ones on HLcentral, or ACS, or law review are the best ones, even though they're also the easiest groups to get into.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:31 am

Can someone weigh in on the merits of doing your own outline vs getting other outlines?

I've thought that I would just make my own as the semester winds down, but is there any advantage to getting other ones?

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:54 am

Doorkeeper wrote:Can someone weigh in on the merits of doing your own outline vs getting other outlines?

I've thought that I would just make my own as the semester winds down, but is there any advantage to getting other ones?

I found that when I knew the material or at least the structure of the material, it was fine to use someone else's. You identify an issue, then look in the outline for the cases and rules to deal with it. But making my own was extremely helpful in learning and getting comfortable with the material.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:44 am

Doorkeeper wrote:Can someone weigh in on the merits of doing your own outline vs getting other outlines?

I've thought that I would just make my own as the semester winds down, but is there any advantage to getting other ones?


It really depends on the person. This is a know yourself kind of thing. I talked to one prof (who was a Sears Prize winner his 1L year) who said he never made a single outline and thought it was a waste of time, but other profs will tell you that they think making an outline is very important. I used other people's outlines.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:35 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:Can someone weigh in on the merits of doing your own outline vs getting other outlines?

I've thought that I would just make my own as the semester winds down, but is there any advantage to getting other ones?


It really depends on the person. This is a know yourself kind of thing. I talked to one prof (who was a Sears Prize winner his 1L year) who said he never made a single outline and thought it was a waste of time, but other profs will tell you that they think making an outline is very important. I used other people's outlines.


This. It really does depend on the person. For some people it's important, for others it's not. The point is to know the material. There is no necessary nor sufficient method to know the material.

thederangedwang
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby thederangedwang » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:31 am

question about general 1L SA type questions (I know chance of me getting one of these is pretty low)

1) I want to work in DC office, my aunt works and lives in DC and is also a lawyer. Is she a credible connection for an argument that i want to work in DC? I have no other connection to dc.

2) my undergrad focus area was centered on international dispute/conflict resolution (from mostly a security perspective). A lot of firms in DC have something along the lines of international arbitration or transnational litigation (but, of course, not from a security perspective). I'm trying to tie in how my undergrad work ties in my interest in these areas of litigation....will this work?

3) 1L grades obviously wont be out by 12/1 when most of these spots open up for 1L's. Should I wait until they are and then apply? Or apply now and then update with grades?

4) any general tips for a 1L trying to get an SA?

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:36 pm

thederangedwang wrote:question about general 1L SA type questions (I know chance of me getting one of these is pretty low)

1) I want to work in DC office, my aunt works and lives in DC and is also a lawyer. Is she a credible connection for an argument that i want to work in DC? I have no other connection to dc.

2) my undergrad focus area was centered on international dispute/conflict resolution (from mostly a security perspective). A lot of firms in DC have something along the lines of international arbitration or transnational litigation (but, of course, not from a security perspective). I'm trying to tie in how my undergrad work ties in my interest in these areas of litigation....will this work?

3) 1L grades obviously wont be out by 12/1 when most of these spots open up for 1L's. Should I wait until they are and then apply? Or apply now and then update with grades?

4) any general tips for a 1L trying to get an SA?


1) Not really, unless she herself is a connection trying to get you a job.
2) I'm not sure.
3) Apply now, update with grades.
4) Have a backup plan.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:45 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
thederangedwang wrote:question about general 1L SA type questions (I know chance of me getting one of these is pretty low)

1) I want to work in DC office, my aunt works and lives in DC and is also a lawyer. Is she a credible connection for an argument that i want to work in DC? I have no other connection to dc.

2) my undergrad focus area was centered on international dispute/conflict resolution (from mostly a security perspective). A lot of firms in DC have something along the lines of international arbitration or transnational litigation (but, of course, not from a security perspective). I'm trying to tie in how my undergrad work ties in my interest in these areas of litigation....will this work?

3) 1L grades obviously wont be out by 12/1 when most of these spots open up for 1L's. Should I wait until they are and then apply? Or apply now and then update with grades?

4) any general tips for a 1L trying to get an SA?


1) Not really, unless she herself is a connection trying to get you a job.
2) I'm not sure.
3) Apply now, update with grades.
4) Have a backup plan.


1) I'd probably explain that "you have family in the area" for explaining why you want to be in DC. That sounds much better than "uhhh my Aunt lives there." Family in the area is usually a credited connection so.
2) Not really. I'd phrase it broader rather than painting yourself into a couple of niche areas or the three jobs in "transnational litigation." I.e., my background in dispute/conflcit resolution got me interested in the public version of dispute resolution: litigation. But it doesn't really matter. No one expects a 1st semester 1L to know exactly what they want to do. It's also appropriate to give an answer from law school, for example, I really enjoy civil procedure so I am interested in litigation.
3) It doesn't really matter. If you are ready to apply now, apply. But if not, don't stress it. Most employers (but not all) want to see at least a semester of grades before hiring 1L SAs. I had a 1L SA and I applied after grades came out.
4) Agreed on the back up plan. They're really rare and pretty grade dependent. My general advice would be focus on doing well in your 1st semester exams rather than job hunting. Send in your applications after exams are over. It won't hurt you.

Mista Bojangles
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Mista Bojangles » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:28 pm

Specific question for anyone familiar with the JD/MPP program with HKS:
I'm a 1L interested in the JD/MPP program (interested in global policy work) but also facing a mountain of debt, and intending/hoping to grind biglaw at least a few years to help dig out of it. Since the JD/MPP takes 4 years, is it still feasible to start with biglaw right after you finish? Do biglaw employers look favorably/neutrally/unfavorably upon the additional MPP degree? How would the timing work - i.e. if you do a 2L SA and then get an offer, would the firm hold that offer for you until you graduate, knowing it'll be another two years rather than just another one?

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fingerscrossedxx
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby fingerscrossedxx » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:35 pm

This might be (and likely is) a totally noob question but does new york big law automatically entail corporate work? I was under the impression that the split between transactional work and litigation was the difference between corporate and all the other things but it seems the litigation side also just means arguing things like breach of contracts but still from a business law perspective. Long story short, does working big law mean automatically have to prepre myself to work in things like securities and M and A? Or are there big law firms that do just litigation? Thanks in advance :)

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:18 pm

fingerscrossedxx wrote:This might be (and likely is) a totally noob question but does new york big law automatically entail corporate work? I was under the impression that the split between transactional work and litigation was the difference between corporate and all the other things but it seems the litigation side also just means arguing things like breach of contracts but still from a business law perspective. Long story short, does working big law mean automatically have to prepre myself to work in things like securities and M and A? Or are there big law firms that do just litigation? Thanks in advance :)


Yes, a significant percentage of litigation, especially in New York will be centered around business and corporate issues. People who can afford to hire biglaw firms are usually corporations, financial institutions, etc.

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fingerscrossedxx
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby fingerscrossedxx » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:15 pm

ph14 wrote:
fingerscrossedxx wrote:This might be (and likely is) a totally noob question but does new york big law automatically entail corporate work? I was under the impression that the split between transactional work and litigation was the difference between corporate and all the other things but it seems the litigation side also just means arguing things like breach of contracts but still from a business law perspective. Long story short, does working big law mean automatically have to prepre myself to work in things like securities and M and A? Or are there big law firms that do just litigation? Thanks in advance :)


Yes, a significant percentage of litigation, especially in New York will be centered around business and corporate issues. People who can afford to hire biglaw firms are usually corporations, financial institutions, etc.


So I have to learn how to do a balance sheet or else? haha

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:53 pm

Any thoughts on whether to do a black letter law class (Con Law, Admin, etc) with my spring elective, or whether I should do a 2 credit class with an easy work load (Law and X classes, etc)? Unfortunately, all of my interests favor doing the BLL classes, but I don't want to overburden myself during 1L spring when I can take those classes my 2L year.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:35 am

Doorkeeper wrote:Any thoughts on whether to do a black letter law class (Con Law, Admin, etc) with my spring elective, or whether I should do a 2 credit class with an easy work load (Law and X classes, etc)? Unfortunately, all of my interests favor doing the BLL classes, but I don't want to overburden myself during 1L spring when I can take those classes my 2L year.


The 2 credit classes can sometimes have rough work loads too. Take what you think you would enjoy doing...but don't take Tax. I actually wouldn't recommend taking Admin either. Corps is a prereq to some classes you might want to take later (though taking Corps in Fall 2L year isn't really a disadvantage so don't freak out. I'm taking it now).

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby thelawschoolproject » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:39 am

acrossthelake wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:Any thoughts on whether to do a black letter law class (Con Law, Admin, etc) with my spring elective, or whether I should do a 2 credit class with an easy work load (Law and X classes, etc)? Unfortunately, all of my interests favor doing the BLL classes, but I don't want to overburden myself during 1L spring when I can take those classes my 2L year.


The 2 credit classes can sometimes have rough work loads too. Take what you think you would enjoy doing...but don't take Tax. I actually wouldn't recommend taking Admin either. Corps is a prereq to some classes you might want to take later (though taking Corps in Fall 2L year isn't really a disadvantage so don't freak out. I'm taking it now).



Are there any other classes that work as prereqs for courses that tend to be vital/popular your 2L year?

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:48 am

acrossthelake wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:Any thoughts on whether to do a black letter law class (Con Law, Admin, etc) with my spring elective, or whether I should do a 2 credit class with an easy work load (Law and X classes, etc)? Unfortunately, all of my interests favor doing the BLL classes, but I don't want to overburden myself during 1L spring when I can take those classes my 2L year.


The 2 credit classes can sometimes have rough work loads too. Take what you think you would enjoy doing...but don't take Tax. I actually wouldn't recommend taking Admin either. Corps is a prereq to some classes you might want to take later (though taking Corps in Fall 2L year isn't really a disadvantage so don't freak out. I'm taking it now).

So no Admin, got it. What about Con Law (1st or 14th) or Con Law History? Are those intensive to the point of it interfering with my other required classes?

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:51 am

fingerscrossedxx wrote:
ph14 wrote:
fingerscrossedxx wrote:This might be (and likely is) a totally noob question but does new york big law automatically entail corporate work? I was under the impression that the split between transactional work and litigation was the difference between corporate and all the other things but it seems the litigation side also just means arguing things like breach of contracts but still from a business law perspective. Long story short, does working big law mean automatically have to prepre myself to work in things like securities and M and A? Or are there big law firms that do just litigation? Thanks in advance :)


Yes, a significant percentage of litigation, especially in New York will be centered around business and corporate issues. People who can afford to hire biglaw firms are usually corporations, financial institutions, etc.


So I have to learn how to do a balance sheet or else? haha


You can learn everything you need on the job. They don't expect you to have a lot of knowledge about the business side of the operation. Your focus is going to be on the legal side.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:52 am

thelawschoolproject wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:Any thoughts on whether to do a black letter law class (Con Law, Admin, etc) with my spring elective, or whether I should do a 2 credit class with an easy work load (Law and X classes, etc)? Unfortunately, all of my interests favor doing the BLL classes, but I don't want to overburden myself during 1L spring when I can take those classes my 2L year.


The 2 credit classes can sometimes have rough work loads too. Take what you think you would enjoy doing...but don't take Tax. I actually wouldn't recommend taking Admin either. Corps is a prereq to some classes you might want to take later (though taking Corps in Fall 2L year isn't really a disadvantage so don't freak out. I'm taking it now).



Are there any other classes that work as prereqs for courses that tend to be vital/popular your 2L year?


Corporations is a pretty popular course and good foundation for the various transactional courses. It can be hard to get, I might not get it until 3L.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:54 am

Doorkeeper wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
Doorkeeper wrote:Any thoughts on whether to do a black letter law class (Con Law, Admin, etc) with my spring elective, or whether I should do a 2 credit class with an easy work load (Law and X classes, etc)? Unfortunately, all of my interests favor doing the BLL classes, but I don't want to overburden myself during 1L spring when I can take those classes my 2L year.


The 2 credit classes can sometimes have rough work loads too. Take what you think you would enjoy doing...but don't take Tax. I actually wouldn't recommend taking Admin either. Corps is a prereq to some classes you might want to take later (though taking Corps in Fall 2L year isn't really a disadvantage so don't freak out. I'm taking it now).

So no Admin, got it. What about Con Law (1st or 14th) or Con Law History? Are those intensive to the point of it interfering with my other required classes?


I'd probably do a Law and X class. There are a few benefits. A 2 credit seminar is less work than a 4 credit doctrinal class (although it is still a lot of reading), and a lot of the seminars you can turn in a final paper in lieu of an exam, which is less stressful and you can get it out of the way by finals. But you also get to know some professors for letters of recommendation in the future, etc.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:57 am

thelawschoolproject wrote:
Are there any other classes that work as prereqs for courses that tend to be vital/popular your 2L year?


Not that I know of. I remember talking to some girls on my way to bar review once during J-term who mentioned that there were some finance/transactions courses they wanted to take in 2L and 3L year that had corps as a pre-req, but I don't know any 2Ls who are like "dang, should've taken corps as a 1L". A lot of courses just don't sequence that much.

It's tough to say whether 14th would be a good idea. On the one hand, it's filled with gunners who plan to take FedCourts. On the other hand, it's filled w/upperclassmen who have for the most part stopped reading. I didn't even know we had a ConLaw History, so I have nothing to say about that class.




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