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

Postby yarsten » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:34 pm

bedefan wrote:I've got kids. My advice: live in Somerville (away from Davis Sq.) or Arlington. Parts of Somerville are a 20-minute walk from HLS. The 77 bus gets you down from Arlington in a hurry -- especially if you live near Mass Ave. in the south end of Arlington, you're not much farther than Davis. Watertown is another possibility that's slightly farther away, and Belmont a little farther than that.

If you can stand an extra 10 minutes by bus or bike, you can save thousands of dollars over the course of the year and get a bigger place. Also, in my experience, there are just more families living in those towns (especially Arlington, Watertown, and Belmont) than in Cambridge. You feel like less of an anomaly.

It's such a pain to move with kids we decided to just stick it out in our Cambridge apartment, but if I could do it again I'd find somewhere in Somerville or Arlington. Just my two cents.


I have a wife and toddler. I'm starting to look on Craigslist to get an idea of price range and location. Some of the places you mentioned look pretty far away (e.g. Arlington, Belmont, Watertown, even west Somerville). How to people get to campus from these areas? I imagine parking on campus is basically nonexistent, and biking is probably not an option in adverse weather. I would love to check these areas out if I knew I wouldn't have to be trudging through snow for 30 minutes each way.

Also, I'm planning on flying up during the summer to look at places- is there a best time of year to look at apartments? I was thinking June or July.

Thanks in advance!

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Searchparty
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Searchparty » Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:40 pm

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Last edited by Searchparty on Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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bedefan
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby bedefan » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:11 pm

yarsten wrote:
I have a wife and toddler. I'm starting to look on Craigslist to get an idea of price range and location. Some of the places you mentioned look pretty far away (e.g. Arlington, Belmont, Watertown, even west Somerville). How to people get to campus from these areas? I imagine parking on campus is basically nonexistent, and biking is probably not an option in adverse weather. I would love to check these areas out if I knew I wouldn't have to be trudging through snow for 30 minutes each way.

Also, I'm planning on flying up during the summer to look at places- is there a best time of year to look at apartments? I was thinking June or July.

Thanks in advance!


Well, it's a tradeoff. You can pay an extra 8 to 12 grand per year so you don't have to bike when it's raining, take the bus, or walk in the snow. You also, more importantly, will get more time with your family if you're closer to campus (less commuting).

The places I mentioned might look far away, but I don't think they are for a big city, at least not the west side of Somerville and the south end of Arlington. West Somerville is I would guess a 20 or 30 minute walk to the law school and a much quicker bike ride. I have appointments in Inman Sq. sometimes and it takes me about 20 minutes to walk from Langdell to there, but maybe I walk fast. I wouldn't walk from Arlington, but it's a 20 minute ride on the 77. The 77 drops you right in front of the law school (well before it gets to Harvard Sq). There are buses that go from Watertown to Harvard Sq., but that's a bigger commute. I wouldn't do it personally, but I know people who happily do. I know a couple who live in Belmont and the student drives to campus or gets a ride.

I don't know how parking works; I think you can get a spot on campus but I imagine they charge you an obscene amount of money. Look it up though as I'm only guessing.

Not sure about when to come out. I signed a lease well in advance (April I think) but I've heard more is listed in June/July.

canarykb
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby canarykb » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:57 pm

bedefan wrote:
ph14 wrote:
2012applicant2013 wrote:Can any current Harvard students speak to choosing HLS over other T-6s with full scholarships?

I'm currently struggling with paying for HLS on my own vs going to UChicago with a significant scholarship.


1. Bad at law school, don't like law school: Chicago. . .

2. Good at law school, don't like law school: Chicago. . .

3. Bad at law school, do like law school: Closer, but i'd probably take Chicago here. . .

4. Good at law school, do like law school: This is the only scenario, really, where I see Harvard winning here. . .

Thus, I think the safer choice is Chicago, and the scenario that maximizes your expected utility.


I'd agree with this analysis, but with this (very important I think) caveat: if you're deeply committed to PI, HLS is probably your best bet in all scenarios. Why do I think this?

First, LIPP will cover your loans in any public service job (non-profit, academia, government), even if the job is not law-related. This is, in my opinion, what puts LIPP on a totally different tier than other LRAP's, and is one of the main reasons I chose HLS over full ride offers at other T14 schools that made more sense for me geographically and personally. You just don't know if you're going to like law before you start doing it, and personally I'd like to have the flexibility to lateral into other work if I find practicing law doesn't suit me after a few years.

Second, HLS has two native public interest fellowship programs that fund (depending on the program) up to two years of post-graduate public interest employment. One of these is the "public service venture fund," which is for two years and also does not require you to do law-related work. These fellowships are worth weighing because you compete for them only against other HLS students -- unlike the Skadden or EJW fellowships, where you're competing with students from the rest of the T14 (plus many other excellent schools).

Third, HLS has a dedicated and well-resourced career services office for public interest-oriented students (it's called OPIA). This includes a dedicated fellowships advisor who knows everyone in the universe and who will stop at nothing (NOTHING!) to help you get a public service fellowship.

Fourth, HLS is big, which means there are enough PI students to form a critical mass. With a critical mass of PI students, you can mostly avoid BigLaw students in your social life (after 1L anyway -- but everyone's sweet and optimistic 1L year anyways). And with a critical mass of PI students, you also get course offerings pitched at PI students. My favorite example: "Housing Law" (for public interest oriented students) and "Real Estate Law" (for BigLaw oriented students).

Fifth, HLS has a huge amount of clinics. You can do 4 semesters of clinical work if you want to without much of a problem.

(Obviously someone who's weighing Chicago at all is probably NOT PI-oriented, but I wanted to post this as a public service. It's more relevant for people weighing HLS v. YLS/SLS/NYU


Can you speak more to why no one should consider Chicago for PI? Looking at your points

1. I get that LIPP mitigates debt, but no debt is more freedom
2. Chi also has PI Fellowships, though they are only one year
3. Chi has a PI adviser in OCS, though I agree OPIA wins out here
4. A larger PI community has its benefits, but just not feeling like hanging out with biglaw folks doesn't seem like that important of a factor.
5. Chi has less clinics, but also less students, I think availability is the same.

I can see how sticker v. sticker HLS is a clear win over Chicago, but I think the benefits of a full ride and being at a small school where you can get more personalized support make the decision a lot more difficult.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:36 am

canarykb wrote:Can you speak more to why no one should consider Chicago for PI?

That wasn't what bedefan actually said. The phrase "probably your best bet" is rather different from "without a doubt always best." Also, I assume the "someone who's weighing Chicago at all is probably NOT PI-oriented" is more a guess about the sorts of people who tend towards Chicago, rather than what the school offers.

canarykb wrote:1. I get that LIPP mitigates debt, but no debt is more freedom

I don't see how no debt is more freedom in the PI world (remember, the "if" we're talking about is "if you're deeply committed to PI"). If you take a job at a nonprofit or with the government, you don't pay back your HLS loans. You could owe millions or nothing, and your take-home pay would still be the same. If you end up with a $60,000/yr. job in PI (or $70,000, or something), then you have a decent participant contribution (a few hundred a month, and it scales up with income), but it's not as though this means that you can't take the job.

canarykb wrote:2. Chi also has PI Fellowships, though they are only one year
3. Chi has a PI adviser in OCS, though I agree OPIA wins out here
4. A larger PI community has its benefits, but just not feeling like hanging out with biglaw folks doesn't seem like that important of a factor.
5. Chi has less clinics, but also less students, I think availability is the same.

I can see how sticker v. sticker HLS is a clear win over Chicago, but I think the benefits of a full ride and being at a small school where you can get more personalized support make the decision a lot more difficult.

On 4, it's a lot bigger of a deal than you think. The application timeline and path is very, very different for PI people than for biglaw people, and it's really isolating to be the only person you know (or one of only two or three) who's doing what you're doing when you're doing it. It doesn't sound terribly compelling to describe, but it's pretty serious to experience.

On 5, more clinics means more choices. The availability may or may not be similar (I don't know), but you have a better chance of getting something more specifically geared towards your interests if there are more options.

I don't think that there is "more personalized support" at Chicago. HLS is a bigger school, but it also has a bigger staff, and you can meet with the same people over and over again. I suspect it's about the same.

Again, none of this is to say that HLS at sticker is for sure always better than Chicago with a big scholarship if you want to do PI. It's just to illustrate ways in which HLS has some advantages, but you have to weigh whether those advantages matter to you personally and what disadvantages there might be.

eleemosynary2
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby eleemosynary2 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:10 pm

tomwatts wrote:If you take a job at a nonprofit or with the government, you don't pay back your HLS loans. You could owe millions or nothing, and your take-home pay would still be the same. If you end up with a $60,000/yr. job in PI (or $70,000, or something), then you have a decent participant contribution (a few hundred a month, and it scales up with income), but it's not as though this means that you can't take the job.


Even though you clarify later in the paragraph, I think it's misleading to say you "don't pay back your HLS loans." That's only true as long as your salary stays under $45,000 (or whatever 100% coverage is) for 10 years. If you make more than that, progressively more of your paycheck goes to loans. Even in LIPP's own paperwork they give the example of someone working at DOJ - LIPP would only end up covering 6% of their loans!

So LIPP vs. a front-end scholarship is only a wash if you're planning to take low-paying PI employment that will continue to be low-paying for the next 10 years. If you're able to secure a PI job with a more aggressive salary increase structure (I know this is difficult; I know this may be more likely from HLS), you will be able to live much more comfortably with your full take-home salary. This is a distinction that I'm just coming to terms with, so would love to hear your thoughts.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:18 pm

eleemosynary2 wrote:
tomwatts wrote:If you take a job at a nonprofit or with the government, you don't pay back your HLS loans. You could owe millions or nothing, and your take-home pay would still be the same. If you end up with a $60,000/yr. job in PI (or $70,000, or something), then you have a decent participant contribution (a few hundred a month, and it scales up with income), but it's not as though this means that you can't take the job.


Even though you clarify later in the paragraph, I think it's misleading to say you "don't pay back your HLS loans." That's only true as long as your salary stays under $45,000 (or whatever 100% coverage is) for 10 years. If you make more than that, progressively more of your paycheck goes to loans. Even in LIPP's own paperwork they give the example of someone working at DOJ - LIPP would only end up covering 6% of their loans!

So LIPP vs. a front-end scholarship is only a wash if you're planning to take low-paying PI employment that will continue to be low-paying for the next 10 years. If you're able to secure a PI job with a more aggressive salary increase structure (I know this is difficult; I know this may be more likely from HLS), you will be able to live much more comfortably with your full take-home salary. This is a distinction that I'm just coming to terms with, so would love to hear your thoughts.


I think that sounds right. If you happen to end up with the exact same job, a front end scholarship (let's say a full ride) is probably better. It is a wash if you take a $45k job and get 100% for 10 yrs, as you mentioned, but otherwise the front end scholarship gives you more flexibility.

But that's under the assumption you end up in the exact same PI job you would have otherwise gotten at the other school. I work TX biglaw. At this firm, there are other people who went to UT w/ scholly money...or no scholly for that matter as it is cheaper anyways. They are paid the same as me. Setting aside the benefits of having a Harvard degree in and of itself (of which I do very much believe in), they're better off. Does that mean I should always choose UT law over HLS? Even no scholarship money? No.

If you're extremely confident that you'll end up in the same PI job from UChicago that you would have gotten out of HLS, then of course the full ride to UChicago is better than HLS' LIPP. Heck, if UChicago's tuition were just $1 cheaper you would/should choose it over HLS (again, setting aside other Harvard benefits). But that's only if you're somehow extremely confident in the result. It's like why people buy insurance lol.

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bedefan
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby bedefan » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:57 pm

canarykb wrote:
Can you speak more to why no one should consider Chicago for PI? Looking at your points

1. I get that LIPP mitigates debt, but no debt is more freedom
2. Chi also has PI Fellowships, though they are only one year
3. Chi has a PI adviser in OCS, though I agree OPIA wins out here
4. A larger PI community has its benefits, but just not feeling like hanging out with biglaw folks doesn't seem like that important of a factor.
5. Chi has less clinics, but also less students, I think availability is the same.

I can see how sticker v. sticker HLS is a clear win over Chicago, but I think the benefits of a full ride and being at a small school where you can get more personalized support make the decision a lot more difficult.


Of course you're right that no debt is more freedom. But a full ride to Chicago is probably not no debt. You'll have to borrow for cost of living unless you have some kind of special arrangement. Maybe COL for a single person is insignificant compared to HLS tuition -- I don't know. I've had kids for a while, and was thus looking at high borrowing whether I took a full ride at another school or not.

Another thing to remember about LIPP is that more than just your income situation will likely change in the 10 years of loan repayment. You might also get married and have children. So if your spouse is also devoted to The Cause and therefore makes less money than you, his or her income isn't counted for LIPP. This allows you to drastically increase your exempt income. As of two years ago (when I researched all this) very few others schools had such a generous provision for spousal income. Furthermore each child increases your exempt income by a few thousand dollars automatically, plus childcare expenses.

(LIPP also has a longevity allowance, which bumps your exempt income up by $5,000 in your 5th year in LIPP, $6,000 in your 6th year, and so on.)

A big caveat: none of this is impressive if you're going to be working for the feds, as I think somebody points out above (but for everybody else in the PI world, this is extremely generous and will amount to a virtually free education.) So if your public service dream is to work for the feds, financially speaking sticker at HLS might not be worth it. Then again, perhaps HLS people have an edge in getting hired by the feds. As I'm not interested in this career track, I have no idea whether this is true or not, but there are an awful lot of Washington types teaching at the law school.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby englawyer » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:25 am

bedefan wrote:So if your spouse is also devoted to The Cause and therefore makes less money than you, his or her income isn't counted for LIPP. This allows you to drastically increase your exempt income.


on the other hand, if the spouse makes more, there could be some awkward conversations, as the spouse may have to contribute toward your student loans.

suppose your partner makes 180,000 in a biglaw job (do public interest ppl ever want to date biglawyers?) and you make $40,000. average income is $110,000. then expected contribution is "$1,200 + 40% over $52,000" which is $24,000, or an insanely large chunk of the PI salary.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby redlongzl » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:21 pm

PMan99 wrote:
redlongzl wrote:Thanks for your reply!

Could you say a little on the pros/cons of North vs. Hastings? I don't have a potential roommate.

Thanks!


If you're looking for a single, the standard North room and the 1 BR Suite in Hastings are about the same price. The good part about North is that you get your own bathroom/shower in your room, which is really nice - both for privacy and just for making things easy. The Hastings rooms are significantly bigger, although you get a full bed in North and only a twin in Hastings. Also North has elevators so you don't have a multi-story walkup every time you need to go to or from your room. From what I can remember there's probably more strain on the Hastings kitchens and laundry rooms (meaning more crowded) than in North as well. North has a kitchen on every floor, Hastings has a kitchen in the basement.

For location, Hastings is right on campus so you have a ~1 minute walk out of your door to WCC, whereas North is two blocks away. This may be a factor to some people, but if you're someone who likes to cook for yourself it also means that North a few blocks closer to the only supermarkets around HLS.



Thanks for your reply!

I've got 2 additional questions:

1. Do North kitchens have fridges?

2. What is the chance for a 1L to get a small single in North?

Thanks!

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howlery
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby howlery » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:42 pm

The pictures of North on the housing website show microwaves but no fridges. Maybe you have to rent a mini fridge or something? I'm also wondering if 1Ls get good spots in Gropius dorms, especially the cheapest (~750/mo) rooms.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby vzapana » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:46 pm

howlery wrote:The pictures of North on the housing website show microwaves but no fridges. Maybe you have to rent a mini fridge or something? I'm also wondering if 1Ls get good spots in Gropius dorms, especially the cheapest (~750/mo) rooms.


There were fridges in the kitchens I visited at North Hall.

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howlery
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby howlery » Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:55 pm

So the Gropius complex is comprised of a few dorms. Does each dorm have every type of room listed on the website? There are prices but no mention of where in Gropius those rooms are.

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polareagle
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby polareagle » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:32 pm

howlery wrote:So the Gropius complex is comprised of a few dorms. Does each dorm have every type of room listed on the website? There are prices but no mention of where in Gropius those rooms are.


http://www3.law.harvard.edu/dos/hlshousing/files/2013/02/2013.2014-Finalized-Web-Floor-Plans.pdf

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby PMan99 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:43 am

redlongzl wrote:
PMan99 wrote:
redlongzl wrote:Thanks for your reply!

Could you say a little on the pros/cons of North vs. Hastings? I don't have a potential roommate.

Thanks!


If you're looking for a single, the standard North room and the 1 BR Suite in Hastings are about the same price. The good part about North is that you get your own bathroom/shower in your room, which is really nice - both for privacy and just for making things easy. The Hastings rooms are significantly bigger, although you get a full bed in North and only a twin in Hastings. Also North has elevators so you don't have a multi-story walkup every time you need to go to or from your room. From what I can remember there's probably more strain on the Hastings kitchens and laundry rooms (meaning more crowded) than in North as well. North has a kitchen on every floor, Hastings has a kitchen in the basement.

For location, Hastings is right on campus so you have a ~1 minute walk out of your door to WCC, whereas North is two blocks away. This may be a factor to some people, but if you're someone who likes to cook for yourself it also means that North a few blocks closer to the only supermarkets around HLS.



Thanks for your reply!

I've got 2 additional questions:

1. Do North kitchens have fridges?

2. What is the chance for a 1L to get a small single in North?

Thanks!


Small? I'm not sure - I know a bunch of 1ls get Standards but there's only a few smalls in North so I imagine it can change year to year and, more importantly, probably depends on what your 1L room draw number is. There are at least a few 1Ls, I believe, with those rooms, but I can't speak to how likely someone is to get one or whether it's a common occurrence each year. North kitchens have fridges but a lot of people have minis in their own room as well. Fighting over communal fridge space (and dealing with poachers) can be annoying.

howlery wrote:The pictures of North on the housing website show microwaves but no fridges. Maybe you have to rent a mini fridge or something? I'm also wondering if 1Ls get good spots in Gropius dorms, especially the cheapest (~750/mo) rooms.


Lots of 1Ls get cheap rooms in Gropius, but none of them are good, because they're in Gropius.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:17 am

If you're not particularly choosy about floor or building, you can for sure get one of the smallest rooms in Gropius. If you want a specific floor, it might be trickier.

Er, they've also completed revamped the way choosing a room works for this year, so all bets are off. But I got the cheapest type of room when I applied for housing in the middle of the summer last year, so I doubt it'll be much of an issue.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby eleemosynary2 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:29 am

englawyer wrote:
bedefan wrote:So if your spouse is also devoted to The Cause and therefore makes less money than you, his or her income isn't counted for LIPP. This allows you to drastically increase your exempt income.


on the other hand, if the spouse makes more, there could be some awkward conversations, as the spouse may have to contribute toward your student loans.

suppose your partner makes 180,000 in a biglaw job (do public interest ppl ever want to date biglawyers?) and you make $40,000. average income is $110,000. then expected contribution is "$1,200 + 40% over $52,000" which is $24,000, or an insanely large chunk of the PI salary.


This certainly happens and is very relevant. I work at a public interest firm, and one of my co-workers is engaged to an i-banker. Even with a less extreme spousal income disparity, it would be easy to imagine pricing out of LIPP fairly easily. This is probably fair (after all, HLS's PI resources should go to those who need them most), but it is really worth thinking about for those who have a T6 full ride.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:28 pm

eleemosynary2 wrote:
englawyer wrote:
bedefan wrote:So if your spouse is also devoted to The Cause and therefore makes less money than you, his or her income isn't counted for LIPP. This allows you to drastically increase your exempt income.


on the other hand, if the spouse makes more, there could be some awkward conversations, as the spouse may have to contribute toward your student loans.

suppose your partner makes 180,000 in a biglaw job (do public interest ppl ever want to date biglawyers?) and you make $40,000. average income is $110,000. then expected contribution is "$1,200 + 40% over $52,000" which is $24,000, or an insanely large chunk of the PI salary.


This certainly happens and is very relevant. I work at a public interest firm, and one of my co-workers is engaged to an i-banker. Even with a less extreme spousal income disparity, it would be easy to imagine pricing out of LIPP fairly easily. This is probably fair (after all, HLS's PI resources should go to those who need them most), but it is really worth thinking about for those who have a T6 full ride.
I can't argue with that and it's reflected in ways that work to my benefit as well as to my detriment. But sometimes I wish that financial services would understand what they teach us on day one of all the clinics and workshops; that if your client is made up of more than one person, there may be divergent interests. Spouses of students often give up a lot just to come along, and arguably don't get the same benefit. Perhaps SFS should be more cognizant of that.

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PinkCow
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby PinkCow » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:09 pm

Trial Advocacy Workshop: Ogletree or Sullivan?

hlsperson1111
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby hlsperson1111 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:20 pm

Sullivan, but 99% of that is because TAW is best learned during J-term when you can immerse yourself in it completely for 3 weeks.

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PinkCow
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby PinkCow » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:04 pm

Sorry one more: Fed Courts: Meltzer, Field, Jackson????

arez
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby arez » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:17 pm

Current students: Con Law (1st or 14th) professor recs/warnings?

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:05 pm

arez wrote:Current students: Con Law (1st or 14th) professor recs/warnings?

This is all second hand from my friends who have taken some of these profs...
Awesome/Rank 1st: Klarman (14th)
Good/Worth taking: Parker (1st), Tushnet (1st), Minow (14th)

No idea about Fried, Jackson, or Brown-Nagin.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:29 pm

http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/cu ... index.html

Go to the course evaluation guide. Find the prof in question. Look at evals. Compare. It's remarkably informative for broad strokes (Klarman is obviously really, really highly appreciated, for example).

tachikara
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tachikara » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:51 pm

redlongzl wrote:
I've got 2 additional questions:

1. Do North kitchens have fridges?

2. What is the chance for a 1L to get a small single in North?

Thanks!


North kitchens have huge fridges that are more than big enough for everyone on the floor. They have water purifiers, microwaves, toasters, ovens, ranges, sinks with garbage disposals, and lots of shared pots and pans. It's actually a pretty sweet cooking setup if you're so inclined.

I'm a 1L with a small single in North, and I know at least two other 1Ls that have a small single. I had a really good lottery number last year, so I'm not sure how hard these rooms are to get.




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