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

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:07 pm

Pancakes12 wrote:What kinds of people are unhappy attending law school?


A lot of different types of people. I would say that many, though certainly not all, people who are close enough to me to be honest with me about this are planning on quitting the practice of law as soon as they climb out of debt and this came out of a fairly negative reaction to the summer associate experience (which, mind you, has way better hours than the real experience). It's very possible they'll change their minds once they're actually out of debt, though.

I think there tends to be an underestimation of not how bad biglaw is, but how unable to deal with it people will be, and the extent to which the paycheck wouldn't offset their unhappiness. People aren't stupid. They understand the downfalls of biglaw on a conceptual level. The problem is you don't really know if it's going to make you miserable, and how miserable, until you go through it.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:38 am

1. What proportion of HLS students are TSLers?

2. Did you and/or other people you know do a lot of 0L prep, and if so, did it help? e.g. primers, GTM, LEEWS, etc.

3. As a follow up to (2), to what extent are the exams based on Black Letter Law vs. policy?

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EijiMiyake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby EijiMiyake » Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:52 am

acrossthelake wrote:
Pancakes12 wrote:What kinds of people are unhappy attending law school?


A lot of different types of people. I would say that many, though certainly not all, people who are close enough to me to be honest with me about this are planning on quitting the practice of law as soon as they climb out of debt and this came out of a fairly negative reaction to the summer associate experience (which, mind you, has way better hours than the real experience). It's very possible they'll change their minds once they're actually out of debt, though.

I think there tends to be an underestimation of not how bad biglaw is, but how unable to deal with it people will be, and the extent to which the paycheck wouldn't offset their unhappiness. People aren't stupid. They understand the downfalls of biglaw on a conceptual level. The problem is you don't really know if it's going to make you miserable, and how miserable, until you go through it.



This is very accurate. I am a 2013 HLS grad and have a lot of doubts about whether I made the right decision to go to law school, or HLS (as opposed to going to another T14 for free). I posted my thoughts in another thread, but will repost here as they seem relevant. I should also add that I'm about 2 months into biglaw and have started to think very seriously about how to leave as soon as possible. My goal is to be out by mid-2015, but who knows what will happen. Many of my friends feel the same way.


EijiMiyake wrote:I didn't read past page 1, so my apologies if this is redundant.

I was in a similar position to you, and have done a lot of reflecting lately about whether I made the right choice. Bottom line: the cost of law school has been very high for me, and if I had a redo, I would not do it again. And by cost, I'm not just referring to money. I think people really underrate the capacity of law school to completely disrupt your life, and the shit that you're attached to now might not be there when you come back.

Prior to law school, I spent 2 years working in a city that I loved, in a job that I disliked, but paid me about 80k a year. If I stayed, I would have been at 100k by year three, and would have been able to transition into any number of very solid business jobs, but probably not high finance (which didn't hold that much interest for me anyway), so there's a chance I would have topped out around the 100-120k mark for the foreseeable future.

Instead, I chose to go to HLS, and turned down full-rides from other schools to do so. I did not take the full-rides because I wanted to avoid big-law at any cost, and I felt like HLS gave me the best shot at doing so. It turns out that biglaw is much harder to avoid than I had anticipated. This is in part because some of the non-biglaw jobs I had my sights set on stopped hiring or had some other significant drawbacks that I didn't know about pre-law school. But it's also because the biglaw credential is so sought after that it makes sense to do it, and because I have about 120k in debt. (If you're at all thinking about public service, run the numbers on your school's LRAP plan and you'll see that it's actually relatively difficult to live on, which is why the vast majority of people I know that are going into public service do not have any significant debt to speak of.)

So, I will be spending at least a few years working biglaw in a city that I don't want to end up long term. (The wrong city aspect of this is completely my fault. I could have easily ended up in a firm in the city of my choice, but when I was going through OCI, I viewed 2L summer as a chance to try out a different city because I was still almost positive that I would not be going the biglaw route. But you should consider that many people end up in a big market not by choice, but because it's easier to find a job there.)

I did not particularly enjoy law school. And I will not particularly enjoy biglaw. And I'm far more worried about job security than I was in my old field. And it will take me at least 2 years just to get back to net worth 0, whereas if I hadn't gone, I would have had enough for a downpayment on a house by now. So assuming the sweet spot for lateralling into something I enjoy more starts in year 3, that's 6 years in my mid-twenties that I will spend far away from where I want to live and doing something that I don't particularly enjoy.

I am confident that I will eventually find a legal job that I like. But I also think I could have done any number of things that I would have found enjoyable, and I wouldn't have had to give up over half a decade to do so.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:16 pm

iamgeorgebush wrote:1. What proportion of HLS students are TSLers?

2. Did you and/or other people you know do a lot of 0L prep, and if so, did it help? e.g. primers, GTM, LEEWS, etc.

3. As a follow up to (2), to what extent are the exams based on Black Letter Law vs. policy?

1. It's hard to tell, because it's somewhat shameful to admit it.

2. No and no. 0L prep does not generally help. A lot of people come in knowing nothing. There are a few things you can do to make the first few weeks a little less confusing, but it makes no difference come exam time.

3. This varies so much by class that it's impossible to give a meaningful answer.

smorgs2010
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby smorgs2010 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:30 pm

Klarman for Con Law or Warren for Taxation: which should I rank #1 for my spring elective? I've heard amazing things about both, and I know both are hard to get into. Also, if I rank one of them as #1, would it be a waste to rank the other as #2?

Or, if any 2Ls and 3Ls out there thinks I'd be crazy not to rank 2-credit seminars in my top slots, please speak up (I've heard that advice as well).

Thanks!

J.Dorita
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby J.Dorita » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:03 pm

1L here: Any thoughts on Professor Jeanne Charn? Her course reviews are significantly worse than desired, but I am interested in the course. Would love to know more specifics about her teaching from anyone who has taken the class. Thanks :)

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:16 pm

smorgs2010 wrote:Klarman for Con Law or Warren for Taxation: which should I rank #1 for my spring elective? I've heard amazing things about both, and I know both are hard to get into. Also, if I rank one of them as #1, would it be a waste to rank the other as #2?

Or, if any 2Ls and 3Ls out there thinks I'd be crazy not to rank 2-credit seminars in my top slots, please speak up (I've heard that advice as well).

Thanks!


Depends on what you are more interested in. I would probably put Klarman for Con Law but you can't go wrong either way. And no, I don't think it would be a waste to rank the other #2. Even if you don't get in you should have a decent spot on the waitlist.

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Mr. Elshal
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Mr. Elshal » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:13 pm

J.Dorita wrote:1L here: Any thoughts on Professor Jeanne Charn? Her course reviews are significantly worse than desired, but I am interested in the course. Would love to know more specifics about her teaching from anyone who has taken the class. Thanks :)


I've been wondering about this too. I haven't been able to find more info about her outside the reviews

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:21 pm

smorgs2010 wrote:Klarman for Con Law or Warren for Taxation: which should I rank #1 for my spring elective? I've heard amazing things about both, and I know both are hard to get into. Also, if I rank one of them as #1, would it be a waste to rank the other as #2?

Or, if any 2Ls and 3Ls out there thinks I'd be crazy not to rank 2-credit seminars in my top slots, please speak up (I've heard that advice as well).

It's a crapshoot with either one either way. I suspect that you might stand a better chance of getting into Warren for Tax, but not by much.

2-credit seminars are nice — I took one during my 1L year — but it's not wrong to take a 4-credit class that you're interested in/that is good. Some people say that it's nicer to have fewer exams, but I don't mind exams at all. Papers are just as much work for me, and no less anxiety.

J.Dorita
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby J.Dorita » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:29 pm

Mr. Elshal wrote:
J.Dorita wrote:1L here: Any thoughts on Professor Jeanne Charn? Her course reviews are significantly worse than desired, but I am interested in the course. Would love to know more specifics about her teaching from anyone who has taken the class. Thanks :)


I've been wondering about this too. I haven't been able to find more info about her outside the reviews


I'm keeping her on my list, just lower down. No final is always a plus.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:26 am

smorgs2010 wrote:Klarman for Con Law or Warren for Taxation: which should I rank #1 for my spring elective? I've heard amazing things about both, and I know both are hard to get into. Also, if I rank one of them as #1, would it be a waste to rank the other as #2?

Or, if any 2Ls and 3Ls out there thinks I'd be crazy not to rank 2-credit seminars in my top slots, please speak up (I've heard that advice as well).

Thanks!

Are you a 1L? I wouldn't take either class as your spring elective. Take a seminar.

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:02 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:
smorgs2010 wrote:Klarman for Con Law or Warren for Taxation: which should I rank #1 for my spring elective? I've heard amazing things about both, and I know both are hard to get into. Also, if I rank one of them as #1, would it be a waste to rank the other as #2?

Or, if any 2Ls and 3Ls out there thinks I'd be crazy not to rank 2-credit seminars in my top slots, please speak up (I've heard that advice as well).

Thanks!

Are you a 1L? I wouldn't take either class as your spring elective. Take a seminar.

Take Nesson. While everyone else is scrambling to prepare for three exams and a paper, or four exams, you will be thinking deep thoughts about the nature of knowledge in the wireless age.

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Searchparty
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Searchparty » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:30 pm

Figured it was worth a shot...

Anyone willing to share contracts or legreg outlines? Sorta struggling with formatting my notes...

owlofminerva
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby owlofminerva » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:44 am

Searchparty wrote:Figured it was worth a shot...

Anyone willing to share contracts or legreg outlines? Sorta struggling with formatting my notes...


Shoot me a PM with your email address. Admittedly, the way I did outlines was a bit unusual, but I think very effective. I can shoot you my full outline with all of my briefs (yes, I briefed pretty much every case in all of law school) and my Powerpoint attack outline. If you need others, I posted a topic in the law students forum called "HLS Outlines" with a full list of various classes that I'm giving away outlines for. To the extent it matters to you, I had Triantis for Ks (no longer there) and Vermeule for LegRed.

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Mr. Elshal
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Mr. Elshal » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:54 pm

Obligatory post-registration question:
How much movement should I expect to see on the waitlist of a class that has only 3 spots for 1Ls? More specifically, if I'm number 3 on the waitlist for a class with 3 spots, are my chances better than, worse than, or equal to a snowball's chance in hell?

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:05 pm

Mr. Elshal wrote:Obligatory post-registration question:
How much movement should I expect to see on the waitlist of a class that has only 3 spots for 1Ls? More specifically, if I'm number 3 on the waitlist for a class with 3 spots, are my chances better than, worse than, or equal to a snowball's chance in hell?


Waitlists generally move quite a bit, probably more than you will expect. If you're #3 on the waitlist for a class with 3 spots, you still yet have a chance, as long as it's not a super popular class most likely.

dj_roomba
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby dj_roomba » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:05 am

Worth it to apply for the Ford Foundation if you're a K-JDer with a bland resume? They choose scholars before 1L grades come out so it seems like I have pretty much nothing to set me apart.

Is it even worth applying or should I focus on grades?

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:54 pm

On Ford, I think they focus more on commitment to public interest and the particular subject area, as well as the fit between your interests / goals and the organization's needs. If nothing on your resume seems to fit they might be surprised, but if you can make a compelling case in your cover letter and essay about why you want to work for this organization, it's definitely worth the time to apply. A couple of hours of your time vs several thousand more dollars? Why not?

06162014123
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Postby 06162014123 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:41 pm

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Last edited by 06162014123 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:41 pm

RedShift wrote:Do any of you know how competitive summer research assistant positions are? I'm interested, but I have no prior research experience. Will that be a big barrier to doing it since so many people at HLS do have previous research experience?


I don't think they are particularly competitive. Get in touch with a professor you would be interested in working for. No, no prior research experience is not an issue at all. Most people at HLS don't have any previous research experience, and even if they did, it probably wasn't legal experience.

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:33 am

If anything, my impression is that most people don't want to RA over the summer (or only want to RA a few hours per week while they do something else full time). So if you're in town and willing to do it full time you likely won't have a hard time finding a prof or two to work with. Agree with ph14 that most people don't have pre-1L legal research experience, so you're on a pretty even playing field unless the prof requires specific skills for their project (say, foreign language, database experience, or familiarity with a particular subject area).

owlofminerva
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby owlofminerva » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:32 am

despina wrote:If anything, my impression is that most people don't want to RA over the summer (or only want to RA a few hours per week while they do something else full time). So if you're in town and willing to do it full time you likely won't have a hard time finding a prof or two to work with. Agree with ph14 that most people don't have pre-1L legal research experience, so you're on a pretty even playing field unless the prof requires specific skills for their project (say, foreign language, database experience, or familiarity with a particular subject area).


I agree with this, but I will also note that the level of competitiveness depends also on the professor. For most professors, it isn't likely to be much of a problem. Some, however, like Tribe, Goldsmith, Rubenstein that are very popular will obviously have a number of students interested in being an RA for them and are more selective in taking somebody on.

06162014123
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Postby 06162014123 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:39 pm

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Last edited by 06162014123 on Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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CyanIdes Of March
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby CyanIdes Of March » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:56 am

So I've read a lot of doom and gloom (people who regret law school, regret big law, etc). Does anyone know people that loved law school, loved their careers afterwards, and weren't just socially weird people who enjoy what should be misery?

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:02 am

CyanIdes Of March wrote:So I've read a lot of doom and gloom (people who regret law school, regret big law, etc). Does anyone know people that loved law school, loved their careers afterwards, and weren't just socially weird people who enjoy what should be misery?


Breyer, Kagan, Kennedy, Roberts, Ginsburg(transferred to CLS to be with her spouse) Kagan, and Obama seem to be having a good time. Jury is out on whether they're socially weird.




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