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.
$alty
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby $alty » Thu May 15, 2014 12:10 pm

over the past few years has the base loan package gone up w/ tuition increases or stayed the same?

Dennycrane70
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Dennycrane70 » Thu May 15, 2014 1:57 pm

Do you guys know of anyone from the midwest who tried to go back home to a secondary market like cleveland/columbus/cincinnati for their 1L/2L summer? Were they successful getting a SA position? Where were they median wise?

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bedefan
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby bedefan » Thu May 15, 2014 5:14 pm

guppy55 wrote:
1. Are PI students a small minority (one or two, here and there) or does there seem to be a pretty good group of them, in any given 1L section for example?

2. That said, is there any weird divide between PI-focused students and firm-focused students, or does everybody co-mingle?

3. Are any of the current students on this thread aiming for PI? From what I've read of this thread (most of it), I haven't seen any.


I'm a graduating 3L who's been PI all the way. There were like 7-8 PI people in my 1L section. I don't count people who are going to firms first.

Personally I think togetherness between PI-focused students and firm-focused students is weirder, and any divide between them is totally appropriate. :wink: I kid, I kid. Though there's definitely a group of PI-focused students who are more, um, militant. I guess I'm thinking of Firmly Refuse. Personally I wasn't part of this group. And to be fair there's also an anti-PI vanguard of Ayn Rand true believers, but they don't have a student organization so they're harder to locate. But you do run into them. At least, I have.

I did find that, as time went on, I lost interest in most people I knew who were going to firms. I felt they became boring some time during 2L. Not all of them, but a lot of them. As I've mentioned on here before I'm an older student, so that may have affected my perspective somewhat. If I were a little less world weary I likely would have found people more interesting. As always, your mileage may vary.

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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Thu May 15, 2014 5:57 pm

Dennycrane70 wrote:Do you guys know of anyone from the midwest who tried to go back home to a secondary market like cleveland/columbus/cincinnati for their 1L/2L summer? Were they successful getting a SA position? Where were they median wise?

I know you are looking for anecdotes but this is super specific and not something to stress about. If you are from a non-coast and are trying to get back home you can. Keep in mind that like short of a Jones Day Cleveland it's not even clear that firms will know what your grades mean.

ttime97
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ttime97 » Thu May 15, 2014 8:14 pm

A repeat from the class of 2017 thread...

Question for current students - what's the bathroom situation like in Hastings Hall? Is the one bathroom per entry a pain or is it actually tolerable to share one among a few suites?

And on the flipside, for those of you who have lived in North Hall found it worth the extra price? Or would you advise against it if you're living off of the student budget?

THANKS!

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Thu May 15, 2014 8:38 pm

I noticed that the PI-focused people in my section seemed to cluster together into the same social circle. I don't think this was the result of any sort of antagonistic divide, and they all seemed to have close friends who were going the firm route as well, but more a result that I think the shared interest binded them together. As in, they also tended to take some of the more PI-oriented classes together, maybe were more dedicated to doing things like SPOs, etc. They also have things like...the job search for a PI job to talk about. It isn't unlike the extent to which I saw premeds sort of cluster together into social circles in undergrad, because they saw each other in all the same premed classes, did similar extracurriculars, and had med school apps to talk about.

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guppy55
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby guppy55 » Thu May 15, 2014 8:55 pm

What is "Firmly Refuse"?

What does the PI job search look like? I know it happens later than EIP...

I've heard that grades are generally less important for most PI positions, and that resume experiences and a demonstrated interest are most important. Is that true? Do you find yourself to be less concerned about grades than your classmates, and maybe more focused on student organizations or journals related to your interests?

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Thu May 15, 2014 9:43 pm

guppy55 wrote:What is "Firmly Refuse"?

What does the PI job search look like? I know it happens later than EIP...

I've heard that grades are generally less important for most PI positions, and that resume experiences and a demonstrated interest are most important. Is that true? Do you find yourself to be less concerned about grades than your classmates, and maybe more focused on student organizations or journals related to your interests?



Also, I didn't do the PI job search, but I have enough friends who did to say it doesn't happen the way EIP does. EIP is a organized machine, the likes of which I will probably never encounter again as far a job-searching goes. There's a version of that for PI, but the thing is, most people who do PI usually have specific focuses, and their ideal employers may not be the ones arriving at HLS. So I found that the point at which people I knew who were PI-oriented knowing where they were going to be working after graduation ranged from September to April 3L. PI places post their job openings at different times throughout the years, and have different deadlines, etc. It can be all over the place, and in that way far more stressful.

I found that PI-focused people remained focused on grades while people going to firms were more likely to check out. I think what people mean by "less important" is that good grades aren't that useful in PI searching if you don't demonstrate interest or experience (while firms are like oh heyyyyyy). But at the end of the day, you continue job searching in a way that the firm-bound do not, and having a strong transcript obviously doesn't hurt.

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MyNameIsFlynn!
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby MyNameIsFlynn! » Thu May 15, 2014 10:11 pm

ttime97 wrote:A repeat from the class of 2017 thread...

Question for current students - what's the bathroom situation like in Hastings Hall? Is the one bathroom per entry a pain or is it actually tolerable to share one among a few suites?

And on the flipside, for those of you who have lived in North Hall found it worth the extra price? Or would you advise against it if you're living off of the student budget?

THANKS!


Wrt Hastings: there are never more than 6 people on an entry so no sharing issues. Everyone is on a different schedule so if you're concerned about being delayed in showering etc no worries

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Thu May 15, 2014 10:32 pm

Whether / how much grades matter for PI depends on what track you want to go.

I don't know much about the government track so others can chime in. I get the sense that grades matter a fair amount for things like ADA and DoJ Honors, and less for things like PD offices, state gov'ts, etc.

For almost everything else, you will need a fellowship, since nonprofits can't / won't pay to train baby attorneys. Fellowships themselves don't care much about grades (I hear that a number of the prestigious ones don't even ask for your transcript), but you need an organization to "sponsor" you (agree to participate in applying for the fellowship, design a project with you, and take you on if you get the $). Most orgs' first priority is demonstrated long-term commitment and relevant experience in the substantive area, but some also care about grades. For example, if you want to for a large, national, super-prestigious org like the ACLU, then you are almost required to do a federal clerkship first, so you need to have good 1L and fall 2L grades.

My experience is that pretty much everyone is worried to some extent about grades 1L, but dedicated PI people are a little more relaxed than those who are gunning for top firms in EIP. Then in 2L, a lot of people with firm jobs are chilling out, and the PI folks chilling out somewhat less. There are a lot of factors at play here though -- I have found (very very broad generalization) that PI folks on average tend to be more "engaged" at HLS in general as 2Ls / 3Ls, while a lot of people are "checking out." Maybe this is because as someone said earlier, PI folks are more likely to actually care about the extracurriculars they're doing / classes they're taking. For example, somebody who wants to be a public defender is probably going to be really into doing CJI (the criminal defense clinic) and put a lot of effort into it, not because she's super stressed about her grade, but because that's the type of work that moved her to go to law school in the first place. Somebody going into biglaw M&A will take tax because she has to but probably isn't exactly moved / intellectually engaged by it (and isn't going to "waste her time" on criminal defense clinics, SPOs, journals etc that she was just using to "check a box" / "keep her options open" as a 1L).

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Fri May 16, 2014 12:06 pm

despina wrote:Whether / how much grades matter for PI depends on what track you want to go.

I don't know much about the government track so others can chime in. I get the sense that grades matter a fair amount for things like ADA and DoJ Honors, and less for things like PD offices, state gov'ts, etc.ad generalization)

The importance of grades varies based on which government agency you apply for and what office/division you want within each agency. For example, for DOJ Civil Rights an appellate clerkship is strongly advised (although I do know of Harvard people getting Civil Rights from Honors without one) and so therefore you need the grades to be competitive for an appellate clerkship. However, DOJ Criminal likes people who have done district clerkship and/or they're not required, and so your grades can be lower if you show more dedication to working in the criminal division through other avenues (i.e. working at something related during the summer(s) and doing a related clinic work). The same principle applies for other government agencies that have the equivalent of an honors program (i.e. Department of Labor) - good grades are always a good thing, but you don't need to be magna/cum laude to be competitive if you show through your application that you really, really want to work in X area of law for the government.

I can't say I know anything about state or PD offices.

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bedefan
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby bedefan » Fri May 16, 2014 1:24 pm

despina wrote:Whether / how much grades matter for PI depends on what track you want to go...


My experience has been that grades matter for enough different PI tracks that a lot of PI people (maybe a third? just a guess) continue caring about grades through fall of 3L.

Some jobs, like certain divisions of DOJ as people have mentioned, plus "private public interest firms" (i.e. elite plaintiff's firms with a strong social conscience) are hard to get without a clerkship. Clerkships are hard to get without good grades.

Also, for fellowships, I've been told that grades are more important for Skadden than for Equal Justice Works. Those are the two main fellowships for entry level public interest attorneys.

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guppy55
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby guppy55 » Sat May 17, 2014 2:20 am

A couple last miscellaneous questions (Note: I am very grateful to everyone who is answering all of these!)

1. I went to a notoriously bad public undergrad -- a consistent top 20 "party school." When I've traveled abroad or gone to conferences at other schools, people tend to assume I'm a joke (or, that I'm the one to take out to the bars for a good time). Is the name of my undergrad going to follow/haunt me down the road, or will the shiny Harvard Law name listed above it on my resume make this irrelevant?

2. My notoriously bad undergrad was in a lovely warm sunny city. Does anyone have any tips for adjusting to the cold? Are the winters just really, profoundly horrible? I've been advised by a Boston-dwelling friend to buy a sun lamp...

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Sat May 17, 2014 10:42 am

guppy55 wrote:1. I went to a notoriously bad public undergrad -- a consistent top 20 "party school." When I've traveled abroad or gone to conferences at other schools, people tend to assume I'm a joke (or, that I'm the one to take out to the bars for a good time). Is the name of my undergrad going to follow/haunt me down the road, or will the shiny Harvard Law name listed above it on my resume make this irrelevant?


Can't speak for down the line, but at HLS nobody cares -- if you're here, you earned it and nobody's going to question that. I wouldn't underestimate the possible benefit of your undergrad alumni network down the road, though. Even if the school doesn't have as many people in whatever field you're going to as, say, Yale, you might find that the people who loved the school (or if it's as "bad" as you say, succeeded despite it) are willing to help each other out.

2. My notoriously bad undergrad was in a lovely warm sunny city. Does anyone have any tips for adjusting to the cold? Are the winters just really, profoundly horrible? I've been advised by a Boston-dwelling friend to buy a sun lamp...


Starting at pg 157-8 there's a good discussion of this including recommended outerwear (super important).

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sat May 17, 2014 12:04 pm

guppy55 wrote:A couple last miscellaneous questions (Note: I am very grateful to everyone who is answering all of these!)

1. I went to a notoriously bad public undergrad -- a consistent top 20 "party school." When I've traveled abroad or gone to conferences at other schools, people tend to assume I'm a joke (or, that I'm the one to take out to the bars for a good time). Is the name of my undergrad going to follow/haunt me down the road, or will the shiny Harvard Law name listed above it on my resume make this irrelevant?

2. My notoriously bad undergrad was in a lovely warm sunny city. Does anyone have any tips for adjusting to the cold? Are the winters just really, profoundly horrible? I've been advised by a Boston-dwelling friend to buy a sun lamp...


As to #1, for law school at least, as long as you don't make a big deal out of it, it won't be. I've encountered the odd person or two here who has a chip on their shoulder about going to a weak undergrad--don't do that, it's alienating. The ones who are chill about it fit in just as well as everybody else.

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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Sat May 17, 2014 12:50 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
guppy55 wrote:A couple last miscellaneous questions (Note: I am very grateful to everyone who is answering all of these!)

1. I went to a notoriously bad public undergrad -- a consistent top 20 "party school." When I've traveled abroad or gone to conferences at other schools, people tend to assume I'm a joke (or, that I'm the one to take out to the bars for a good time). Is the name of my undergrad going to follow/haunt me down the road, or will the shiny Harvard Law name listed above it on my resume make this irrelevant?

2. My notoriously bad undergrad was in a lovely warm sunny city. Does anyone have any tips for adjusting to the cold? Are the winters just really, profoundly horrible? I've been advised by a Boston-dwelling friend to buy a sun lamp...


As to #1, for law school at least, as long as you don't make a big deal out of it, it won't be. I've encountered the odd person or two here who has a chip on their shoulder about going to a weak undergrad--don't do that, it's alienating. The ones who are chill about it fit in just as well as everybody else.
this goes back to that stop looking for reasons you won't fit in thing we mentioned last week. Is normal. But try not to do it. It's not super healthy.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sat May 17, 2014 12:54 pm

There's 550 people per class. The only way you don't find people in a school this big who you fit in with is lack of effort, insecurity, etc. There are some insufferable douchebags here -- they have friends. There are some people who put a whole new spin on the concept of awkward -- they have friends. There are some (creepy to various degrees) dudes who only ever hit on Asian women -- some of them have Asian girlfriends somehow anyway. You will have friends if you try.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Sat May 17, 2014 1:07 pm

acrossthelake wrote:There are some (creepy to various degrees) dudes who only ever hit on Asian women -- some of them have Asian girlfriends somehow anyway.

I don't mean to derail the thread, but this is probably the single weirdest/creepiest thing (from both perspectives) that I have noticed at Harvard. I honestly do not understand it.

baloneydanza
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby baloneydanza » Sat May 17, 2014 1:18 pm

Be proud of your party school. Show the Ivy league nerds at HLS how to throw down.

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Sat May 17, 2014 1:21 pm

Doorkeeper wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:There are some (creepy to various degrees) dudes who only ever hit on Asian women -- some of them have Asian girlfriends somehow anyway.

I don't mean to derail the thread, but this is probably the single weirdest/creepiest thing (from both perspectives) that I have noticed at Harvard. I honestly do not understand it.


Interesting, I've noticed this less at HLS than I did in undergrad. But yeah, apparently it's a thing everywhere?

ETA: not Asian or a man though so of course my perspective on this is third-hand...

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Sat May 17, 2014 2:48 pm

guppy55 wrote:A couple last miscellaneous questions (Note: I am very grateful to everyone who is answering all of these!)

1. I went to a notoriously bad public undergrad -- a consistent top 20 "party school." When I've traveled abroad or gone to conferences at other schools, people tend to assume I'm a joke (or, that I'm the one to take out to the bars for a good time). Is the name of my undergrad going to follow/haunt me down the road, or will the shiny Harvard Law name listed above it on my resume make this irrelevant?

2. My notoriously bad undergrad was in a lovely warm sunny city. Does anyone have any tips for adjusting to the cold? Are the winters just really, profoundly horrible? I've been advised by a Boston-dwelling friend to buy a sun lamp...


Regarding question #2: it's not that bad, only 2-3 HLS students die of frostbite each winter.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Sat May 17, 2014 3:03 pm

ph14 wrote:
guppy55 wrote:A couple last miscellaneous questions (Note: I am very grateful to everyone who is answering all of these!)

1. I went to a notoriously bad public undergrad -- a consistent top 20 "party school." When I've traveled abroad or gone to conferences at other schools, people tend to assume I'm a joke (or, that I'm the one to take out to the bars for a good time). Is the name of my undergrad going to follow/haunt me down the road, or will the shiny Harvard Law name listed above it on my resume make this irrelevant?

2. My notoriously bad undergrad was in a lovely warm sunny city. Does anyone have any tips for adjusting to the cold? Are the winters just really, profoundly horrible? I've been advised by a Boston-dwelling friend to buy a sun lamp...


Regarding question #2: it's not that bad, only 2-3 HLS students die of frostbite each winter.

I think the number of HLS students who die of frostbite each winter is roughly equal to the number of YLS students who get shot on the way to class each year.

On #1, your undergrad will be a conversation point at various times during law school. ("Where'd you do your undergrad? Oh, hey, I have a friend who went to Well-Known Party School, too!") If you're not weird about it, none of the other students will be weird about it either.

It's on your resume, so some recruiters may ask you about it, but it's probably just a conversation point with them, too. If you do well in law school, then they'll care more about that than the prestige of your undergrad, and if you don't do well in law school, then the undergrad will not be the main thing you have to work around in an interview anyway.

In the occasional job application (notably a lot of clerkship apps), you'll have to include your undergrad transcript, and some people might actually care where you did your undergrad. But they'll still care more what you did while you were there (serious classes, good grades) and more still about what you're doing in law school.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sat May 17, 2014 5:58 pm

despina wrote:
Interesting, I've noticed this less at HLS than I did in undergrad. But yeah, apparently it's a thing everywhere?

ETA: not Asian or a man though so of course my perspective on this is third-hand...


I notice it way more here than I did in undergrad. I still can't figure out why there are as many as they are here, though. Wild speculation is all I got.

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

Postby Mr. Elshal » Sun May 18, 2014 10:20 am

ttime97 wrote:A repeat from the class of 2017 thread...

Question for current students - what's the bathroom situation like in Hastings Hall? Is the one bathroom per entry a pain or is it actually tolerable to share one among a few suites?

And on the flipside, for those of you who have lived in North Hall found it worth the extra price? Or would you advise against it if you're living off of the student budget?

THANKS!


I lived in North and it was definitely convenient. I started to really appreciate it when, at one point this semester, I was so sick that I barely left my bed for weeks (my body just couldn't handle it). When that happened, having my own bathroom was a godsend.

But that was only three weeks or so, and (I hope) it is unlikely to happen to you.

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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Sun May 18, 2014 11:20 am

Mr. Elshal wrote:
ttime97 wrote:A repeat from the class of 2017 thread...

Question for current students - what's the bathroom situation like in Hastings Hall? Is the one bathroom per entry a pain or is it actually tolerable to share one among a few suites?

And on the flipside, for those of you who have lived in North Hall found it worth the extra price? Or would you advise against it if you're living off of the student budget?

THANKS!


I lived in North and it was definitely convenient. I started to really appreciate it when, at one point this semester, I was so sick that I barely left my bed for weeks (my body just couldn't handle it). When that happened, having my own bathroom was a godsend.

But that was only three weeks or so, and (I hope) it is unlikely to happen to you.
North medium is best band for the buck. save a bit but still decent size and a full brewed.




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