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 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:48 pm

Also though I think most people are sincere...being competitive or mean is really counterproductive. Being on good or at least neutral terms and having a good or neutral reputation is def more important......so i don't know what the motivation would be to be meanly competitive???

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:37 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
freestallion wrote:I know there's a common stereotype that Harvard is highly competitive/there are a lot of gunners. Is there any truth to this or not? I'm about 99% sure about attending HLS and this is the only thing that's making me nervous!


I'm going to answer this from anecdotes from my section that show that we're not gunners, but I'm going to do this via PM. I'm outed enough already (OH HELLO EVERYONE who knows who I am in real life and who might be reading this. Also hello nice person who introduced himself to me in the library. I don't remember your face anymore, but feel free to introduce yourself again or friend me on facebook), but I might try to maintain some semblance of privacy for myself.

Also, re: transcript. It isn't special for Harvard. A large # require transcripts from everyone. Some don't from anyone. They won't specially request from Harvard students, to my knowledge. You can actually calculate a GPA off of your grades, it just wouldn't be "official".
Now I feel left out. Also, if you're in section four, you totally are gunners.

jbs017
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby jbs017 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:18 pm

acrossthelake wrote:Alternatively, if I could for once have a seat close to the front that would help too.


How do the seating arrangements get determined?

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:27 pm

jbs017 wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:Alternatively, if I could for once have a seat close to the front that would help too.


How do the seating arrangements get determined?

Assigned by professors.

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:15 pm

delusional wrote:
jbs017 wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:Alternatively, if I could for once have a seat close to the front that would help too.


How do the seating arrangements get determined?

Assigned by professors.

Our visiting prof said the registrar gave her a seating chart.

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:29 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
delusional wrote:
jbs017 wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:Alternatively, if I could for once have a seat close to the front that would help too.


How do the seating arrangements get determined?

Assigned by professors.

Our visiting prof said the registrar gave her a seating chart.

Assigned by the registrar.

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:33 pm

delusional wrote: Now I feel left out. Also, if you're in section four, you totally are gunners.


Was on my phone earlier. If you really want to know, I can point you to the hints that gave me away pretty quickly. Also, not in section 4, though I'm friends with someone who is.

Does anyone know when our grades are coming out? I know last year it was out Jan 26. -.-

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:33 am

acrossthelake wrote:
delusional wrote: Now I feel left out. Also, if you're in section four, you totally are gunners.


Was on my phone earlier. If you really want to know, I can point you to the hints that gave me away pretty quickly. Also, not in section 4, though I'm friends with someone who is.

Does anyone know when our grades are coming out? I know last year it was out Jan 26. -.-


I've heard last week of January is normal.

thederangedwang
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:53 am

how many of y'all current students have linkedin profiles? any adv/disadv to getting one?

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:58 am

thederangedwang wrote:how many of y'all current students have linkedin profiles? any adv/disadv to getting one?


Yes. No disadvantage. Worst case scenario it proves to be a waste of your time, but it takes like 5 minutes to set up. I know people (not in law) who have gotten their current jobs through people contacting them on linkedin.

thederangedwang
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:18 pm

1 more question...is the 1L year really that bad in terms of workload?
Cause people in high school would always tell me how horrible AP classes were, and they turned out to be ok...and then it was college, and it turned out to be OK especially considering how I lost 4-5 hrs a day due to athletics...so...is law school first yr really that bad?

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:27 pm

thederangedwang wrote:1 more question...is the 1L year really that bad in terms of workload?
Cause people in high school would always tell me how horrible AP classes were, and they turned out to be ok...and then it was college, and it turned out to be OK especially considering how I lost 4-5 hrs a day due to athletics...so...is law school first yr really that bad?

Like everything I post these days, I'll reevaluate when I have grades. I personally was not overwhelmed by the workload. It takes some time to figure out how much attention to give each type of reading or each subject, and while you figure it out, it can be tough to do anything extracurricular. But generally, if you're used to working eight hours a day, this is not much harder, and it's a lot more fun. (I think that a lot of the overwhelmedness is by K-JDs, who are surprised that it's so much harder than undergrad).

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:48 pm

thederangedwang wrote:1 more question...is the 1L year really that bad in terms of workload?
Cause people in high school would always tell me how horrible AP classes were, and they turned out to be ok...and then it was college, and it turned out to be OK especially considering how I lost 4-5 hrs a day due to athletics...so...is law school first yr really that bad?


varies from person to person. first few weeks will be extra tough on everyone though i imagine as you familiarize yourself to the material, teaching style, law school itself, etc.

but it really runs the whole range -- i personally believe, however hard you worked academically (i.e. in ugrad), you will kick it up a notch. it won't be unbelievably different, but definitely kicked up a notch. im not sure how it might relate to someone who has been working for a number of years as i went straight through.

like i said, ive seen some who pull multiple all-nighters during reading week before finals; work till late every day the whole semester, etc., and those who pretty much never study or read (and of course everything in between) -- im talking about pretty much the same grades at the end of the day too. it is whatever works best for you.

speaking personally, 1L yr was not nearly as bad as i had imagined/heard, though once again, ive had friends tell me the opposite as well lol.

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:37 pm

thederangedwang wrote:1 more question...is the 1L year really that bad in terms of workload?
Cause people in high school would always tell me how horrible AP classes were, and they turned out to be ok...and then it was college, and it turned out to be OK especially considering how I lost 4-5 hrs a day due to athletics...so...is law school first yr really that bad?


The workload wasn't too bad--reading shouldn't take you that long once you get the hang of it. I think I managed about 30-40pages/hr from the very beginning, but I'm told that that's a bit higher than average in the beginning, with each course assigning around 50-60pages/week. I didn't brief because I could basically remember cold-call details off the top of my head from reading the material once, and enough for it for the exam as well from memory. If you're not good at remembering things, it might take a bit more effort than that.

I found 1L semester to be a pretty unpleasant experience, but it wasn't the workload. It's more that I'm just not a strongly competitive person by nature, yet with the curve, my performance was evaluated not in a vacuum, but purely by comparison to my peers, and that bothered me a lot.

sven
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby sven » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:34 am

acrossthelake wrote:
thederangedwang wrote:1 more question...is the 1L year really that bad in terms of workload?
Cause people in high school would always tell me how horrible AP classes were, and they turned out to be ok...and then it was college, and it turned out to be OK especially considering how I lost 4-5 hrs a day due to athletics...so...is law school first yr really that bad?


The workload wasn't too bad--reading shouldn't take you that long once you get the hang of it. I think I managed about 30-40pages/hr from the very beginning, but I'm told that that's a bit higher than average in the beginning, with each course assigning around 50-60pages/week. I didn't brief because I could basically remember cold-call details off the top of my head from reading the material once, and enough for it for the exam as well from memory. If you're not good at remembering things, it might take a bit more effort than that.

I found 1L semester to be a pretty unpleasant experience, but it wasn't the workload. It's more that I'm just not a strongly competitive person by nature, yet with the curve, my performance was evaluated not in a vacuum, but purely by comparison to my peers, and that bothered me a lot.


Thanks so much for answering questions! I'm just a little confused about what you mean by "the curve." I thought pretty much everyone gets a P or H. Is getting an H that important? Is it wrong to go into Harvard without any ambition to get Hs? On a similar note, what happens to people with straight Ps? Can they get jobs at firms or the federal government provided that they have some relevant experience or are you screwed without at least a few Hs?

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:21 am

sven wrote:
Thanks so much for answering questions! I'm just a little confused about what you mean by "the curve." I thought pretty much everyone gets a P or H. Is getting an H that important? Is it wrong to go into Harvard without any ambition to get Hs? On a similar note, what happens to people with straight Ps? Can they get jobs at firms or the federal government provided that they have some relevant experience or are you screwed without at least a few Hs?


What I mean, is that in undergrad, when you're on a curve where a certain % get an A, another gets a B,etc. usually the people who did worse sort of, well, deserve it because they didn't really work as hard. I was a TA several times in undergrad--kids who got Cs were either slackers who never showed up or people who had something going on in their personal lives (in which case you hoped a dean was helping them get things sorted out, with a note in their record that there were extraneous circumstances). Same goes for many of the B students. (Hello, grade inflation & the gentleman's B). But law school grades are a bit more arbitrary, a bit more random. The slacker who doesn't show up could get an H, when the person who worked really diligently all semester gets the P instead. If you're beating someone on the curve, it doesn't necessarily feel like you 'deserve' it the same way you did in undergrad.

Top 0-5% get Dean Scholar's, and bottom 0-8% get a Low Pass. It depends a lot on what your background is and what your ambitions are. Do you want to clerk? Do you want to possibly work for the DOJ? Do you want to have more options for biglaw?

You probably don't get to work for the DOJ Honors Program with straight Ps your first year(though you still probably won't with straight Hs, it's so competitive, lol). For biglaw, it depends a lot on your background. I've seen URMs, other minorities, and people with good work experience (think McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, etc.) land pretty prestigious biglaw jobs with straight Ps, and other people at median strike out. You need to have good interviewing skills. Work experience is important. But it's also just a lot easier when you have a couple Hs on your transcript. Every single job I've applied to for next summer won't give offers out without seeing my first semester transcript. One job listing on Symplicity explicitly said that you needed more Hs than Ps and no more than 1 LP. Some markets are going to want a lot more Hs than Ps if you don't have anything else that's strong going for you (D.C. and Boston come to mind).

Straight Ps isn't the end of the world, but it's below median, thus closing off access to the section of jobs that demand that you still be at the top, even at Harvard.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:27 am

sven wrote:Thanks so much for answering questions! I'm just a little confused about what you mean by "the curve." I thought pretty much everyone gets a P or H. Is getting an H that important? Is it wrong to go into Harvard without any ambition to get Hs? On a similar note, what happens to people with straight Ps? Can they get jobs at firms or the federal government provided that they have some relevant experience or are you screwed without at least a few Hs?


lol this thread must be getting too long, we need to have a sticky post option hahaha.

there is a curve that is pretty strictly adhered to for 1Ls -- ~37% Hs, rest Ps. discretionary DS (0-5% I would guess) and discretionary LP (0-8%) that can eat into the aforementioned 37/63 split.

i dont think it is 'wrong' to go into HLS with no ambition for any Hs...i mean, i wouldnt SHOOT for all Ps, but having all Ps doesnt damn you for biglaw. in fact, i know people with straight Ps who got V50 jobs (w/o work experience either). I have even heard of a person or two who had all Ps with an LP land V100s. grades arent the largest determinant of your biglaw chances (unless they are really good or really bad); bidding strategy, geographic location, and interviewing skills are much, much more important (this excludes those gunning for the most selective biglaw spots like Boies, Wachtell, W&C, etc., or other similarly prestigious things...but then again, being median or even slightly above median would cut you off from those things in the same fashion lol).

note: the jobs acrossthelake is talking about that have these explicit grade cutoffs are for her 1L summer; very few biglaw firms have such cutoffs for EIP; though obviously better grades will always help, esp. in tough markets like the ones acrossthelake mentioned

sven
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby sven » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:55 am

DoubleChecks wrote:
sven wrote:Thanks so much for answering questions! I'm just a little confused about what you mean by "the curve." I thought pretty much everyone gets a P or H. Is getting an H that important? Is it wrong to go into Harvard without any ambition to get Hs? On a similar note, what happens to people with straight Ps? Can they get jobs at firms or the federal government provided that they have some relevant experience or are you screwed without at least a few Hs?


lol this thread must be getting too long, we need to have a sticky post option hahaha.

there is a curve that is pretty strictly adhered to for 1Ls -- ~37% Hs, rest Ps. discretionary DS (0-5% I would guess) and discretionary LP (0-8%) that can eat into the aforementioned 37/63 split.

i dont think it is 'wrong' to go into HLS with no ambition for any Hs...i mean, i wouldnt SHOOT for all Ps, but having all Ps doesnt damn you for biglaw. in fact, i know people with straight Ps who got V50 jobs (w/o work experience either). I have even heard of a person or two who had all Ps with an LP land V100s. grades arent the largest determinant of your biglaw chances (unless they are really good or really bad); bidding strategy, geographic location, and interviewing skills are much, much more important (this excludes those gunning for the most selective biglaw spots like Boies, Wachtell, W&C, etc., or other similarly prestigious things...but then again, being median or even slightly above median would cut you off from those things in the same fashion lol).

note: the jobs acrossthelake is talking about that have these explicit grade cutoffs are for her 1L summer; very few biglaw firms have such cutoffs for EIP; though obviously better grades will always help, esp. in tough markets like the ones acrossthelake mentioned


Thanks DoubleChecks and acrossthelake. These were both extremely helpful answers.

Confused7
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Confused7 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:05 pm

I'm a deferring student who's just confirmed her enrollment at HLS next year. :D I've been skimming through this thread as I prepare myself to move to Cambridge and get immersed in the HLS culture. Thanks to all the very insightful advice so far!

I was wondering if anyone could speak to living in the dorms on campus. Obviously they are super convenient and time-saving for those late mornings rolling out of bed. I was thinking of perhaps living in Gropius as it's relatively cheap and many people I talked to chose to live in the complex year after year. Are the floors relatively co-ed with each floor only having a single-sex bathroom? Is the cell phone service really atrocious? (I had no bars on my AT&T phone while I was there; I've heard that Verizon works better). What is the "dorm culture" like?

Thanks in advance!!

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:53 pm

Confused7 wrote:I was wondering if anyone could speak to living in the dorms on campus. Obviously they are super convenient and time-saving for those late mornings rolling out of bed. I was thinking of perhaps living in Gropius as it's relatively cheap and many people I talked to chose to live in the complex year after year. Are the floors relatively co-ed with each floor only having a single-sex bathroom? Is the cell phone service really atrocious? (I had no bars on my AT&T phone while I was there; I've heard that Verizon works better). What is the "dorm culture" like?

I'm really glad I lived in the dorms. You get a built-in friend network that can include but isn't limited to your section, which is nice, and dorm life is generally pleasant.

Yes, the floors are co-ed, though they are usually dominated by the sex of the bathroom. I think I'm one of three or four guys on my floor (with a women's bathroom). However, the floors interact with each other a lot. Ames, Dane, and Holmes connect, and I think Shaw and Story connect, so (for example) the people on Ames 2 and Holmes 2 interact a lot. (Ames 2 has a lounge and Holmes 2 has a kitchen; together they are a complete floor.)

In the rooms themselves, the AT&T service is terrible. Verizon is fine. Sprint is acceptable. I bought a dorm phone and hooked it up so that I can (for free) receive calls, and I make people call me on my land line if I want to have an extended conversation. Some people go into the halls or stairwells for calls.

Dorm culture varies from floor to floor and year to year. I've been surprised at the amount of partying on my floor, but I understand that my floor is somewhat unusual in that regard. (Also, being on a floor with a lounge contributes. If you want a quieter floor, choose one with a kitchen but no lounge.) People are generally very friendly.

thederangedwang
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby thederangedwang » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:55 pm

so the dorms are basically, well...dorms right? motel size rooms with no attached kitchen and bathroom right?

also, are these dorms only for grad students or could your neighbors possibly be freshman undergrads?

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:57 pm

Speaking of which, what is the deal with the Harvard and bathrooms? Notable statistics: 1600 Students, 200 Faculty, 150 administrative personnel, 2 bathrooms. Am I the only one who notices this?

freestallion
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby freestallion » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:12 pm

On the same note, how are the kitchens in the dorms (Gropius, I guess)? Is there space for you to store some utensils, food, veggies, etc? And how are the bathrooms - is it like an undergrad dorm?

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kulshan
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby kulshan » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:40 pm

freestallion wrote:On the same note, how are the kitchens in the dorms (Gropius, I guess)? Is there space for you to store some utensils, food, veggies, etc? And how are the bathrooms - is it like an undergrad dorm?


Are the kitchens/bathrooms clean?

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:06 pm

delusional wrote:Speaking of which, what is the deal with the Harvard and bathrooms? Notable statistics: 1600 Students, 200 Faculty, 150 administrative personnel, 2 bathrooms. Am I the only one who notices this?


?????? 4 bathrooms on first floor of pound?(2 per gender) and another additional set per floor???




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