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

Postby despina » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:52 pm

If you really truly do not care about any of your classes, any law school topics, any professor styles, or any extracurricular activities and plan to totally zone out for three years wherever you go... maybe you should rethink spending 3 years of your life in law school to begin with and let that space go to someone who will actually engage with the community and take advantage of some of the opportunities offered?

Maybe I'm misjudging or exaggerating, but that's the impression your post gives. Definitely in every class there are some people who zone out (and I'm definitely one of those people in some of my classes, some of the time), but it's hard for me to think of any of my classmates who seem as apathetic about the intellectual life of the school as you do, and you haven't even been beaten down by the 1L grind yet.

gottago
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby gottago » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:06 am

Nah I've done prelim independent readings of crimpro and adminlaw and they seem legit interesting but I think you brought this up before (maybe in response to another inquirer) and ATL said that while she herself may not endorse the following particular view, a lot of classmates fail to see the relevance of their law school education to their jobs, and see a legal education not as an embrace of the majesty of the law but as a means to an end. And a lot have said that classes like fed-courts help with CoA->SCOTUS->gov or DC appellate practice or w.e. but not for NYC transactions between JPM and [whomever].

Extracurrics are cool. I'm gonna try to be active in a few extracurrics like Harv J of XYZ and Ames and affinity and w.e. and be engaged with the community. Learning about the "grave implications of OWHolmes's recently uncovered handwritten notes on [obscure doctrine] in 18th century Bulgaria and how such implications mandate that the 21st century SCOTUS rules [in a way we prefer]," not so much.
Last edited by gottago on Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:16 am

I totally get that not all classes are interesting for all people -- it's the rare person who's 100% engaged with the black letter law, the philosophical stuff / "majesty of the law" you mention, all the practical policy concerns, etc. And of course no matter what field you go into, some large chunk of what you study is just not going to be directly relevant to your career.

What struck me about your post was more the "I'd have no objections to throwing darts at a course listing to pick my classes . . . Style of instruction and class size didn't really matter." My feeling is that if you're here for 3 years anyway, two of which you have almost complete freedom to do whatever you want. There's got to be at least something in the curriculum that you find interesting (underwater basket weaving regulation?), or at least you have some idea of what types of teaching styles you find engaging so that you can find some intellectual satisfaction in topics that wouldn't otherwise capture your attention.

Glad to hear you're interested in engaging with extracurricular stuff, sorry for making assumptions there. If you want to share any more specific interests we can help you figure out if HLS is a good fit, though one advantage of HLS over SLS is that if you can think of it, there's probably a student group / clinic / journal of it, because there are just so damn many of us. :)

PMan99
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby PMan99 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:03 am

despina wrote:If you really truly do not care about any of your classes, any law school topics, any professor styles, or any extracurricular activities and plan to totally zone out for three years wherever you go... maybe you should rethink spending 3 years of your life in law school to begin with and let that space go to someone who will actually engage with the community and take advantage of some of the opportunities offered?

Maybe I'm misjudging or exaggerating, but that's the impression your post gives. Definitely in every class there are some people who zone out (and I'm definitely one of those people in some of my classes, some of the time), but it's hard for me to think of any of my classmates who seem as apathetic about the intellectual life of the school as you do, and you haven't even been beaten down by the 1L grind yet.


We must hang out in different crowds. I knew quite a few people who picked classes based on little more than having a good schedule (time-wise) and not needing to engage intellectually at all or even attend outside of 2-3 classes a term. Pretending to care about variations of the ineffectual socratic method while paying $75,000 a year is not what I wanted to do.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:20 am

acrossthelake wrote:I'm not sure I'd call Stanford on a farm. :lol:

But that's what all the locals call it!
despina wrote:(underwater basket weaving regulation?)

I hear that class is a mess of admiralty law and is full of people gunning to clerk in the Virgin Islands.
gottago wrote:Since I already concluded H>Y and think that Y and S are basically the same or maybe Y is slightly better, you think there'd be too much cognitive dissonance to now jump ship to SLS?

The only reason I know of to choose S over Y is that you want to go to California, especially SF/SV. So if you've decided that you'd rather go to H than Y and you have no specific desire to be in S's location, then H is your better bet.

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jrf12886
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby jrf12886 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:55 am

despina wrote:Definitely in every class there are some people who zone out (and I'm definitely one of those people in some of my classes, some of the time), but it's hard for me to think of any of my classmates who seem as apathetic about the intellectual life of the school as you do, and you haven't even been beaten down by the 1L grind yet.


This. Overall I found students were pretty engaged with their classes and sincerely interested in contributing. Is it possible to zone out, not care about your classes, and basically coast for 3 years while you wait to start practicing M&A? Sure. But that characterizes only a tiny fraction of people at HLS, and certainly not the people I sought out as friends.

I picked a few classes because I thought they'd be easy, but I also took some classes I knew would be chellenging because they sounded interesting.

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Searchparty
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Searchparty » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:59 am

Insurance law seminar with Bruce Hay? At ASW I sat in on a civ pro class with him that had about 4 students. It was extremely weird. I'm thinking of picking it up to replace admin with sunstein, any thoughts?

bbsg
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby bbsg » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:42 am

Anyone in TAW with Ogletree (or who has been in TAW with Ogletree) know how long this conference call is supposed to be?

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Doorkeeper » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:48 am

Searchparty wrote:Insurance law seminar with Bruce Hay? At ASW I sat in on a civ pro class with him that had about 4 students. It was extremely weird. I'm thinking of picking it up to replace admin with sunstein, any thoughts?

nope. nope. nope.

find a different class.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:58 am

PMan99 wrote:
We must hang out in different crowds. I knew quite a few people who picked classes based on little more than having a good schedule (time-wise) and not needing to engage intellectually at all or even attend outside of 2-3 classes a term. Pretending to care about variations of the ineffectual socratic method while paying $75,000 a year is not what I wanted to do.


This. Perhaps it's just my learning style, but I found the way law school classes were taught to be the most disenchanting and disappointing aspect of law school. I don't blame HLS in particular--I have a friend at Stanford who I discussed this with who said it was the same experience. It's just legal teaching in general.

It manages to jive with some people (or maybe some are just really into class no matter what, I don't know).

There were some exceptions, though. The errant class here or there that broke from the mold was actually pretty good and engaging, but I never found that they were the ones that were "recommended" by others.

Cowboy25
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Cowboy25 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:47 pm

Can anyone provide any helpful information regarding supplements/hornbooks? Which ones, if any did you find useful at HLS? Have many HLS 1L professors written good supplements that I should look into after receiving my schedule? Thanks for any help!

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:38 pm

I found that there's quite a diversity of teaching styles available. The Trial Advocacy Workshop and Negotation workshop are very practical and you spend most of your time on simulations and getting feedback from practitioners. Clinics obviously are diverse in teaching style and what you spend your time doing. Seminars run the gamut of styles. Even some of the larger BLL classes aren't strictly "socratic" (some profs give entertaining lectures rather than making you suffer through listening to other students being cold called, etc). Similarly, the topics run the gamut, and if you're not interested in anything in our huge curriculum then law school / a legal career seems like a choice that will make you miserable? I totally agree that not all law school is engaging all the time, but it saddens me to hear that people aren't even interested in finding something that engages them, either in substance or format.

Cowboy25 wrote:Can anyone provide any helpful information regarding supplements/hornbooks? Which ones, if any did you find useful at HLS? Have many HLS 1L professors written good supplements that I should look into after receiving my schedule? Thanks for any help!


I have never used a supplement that wasn't explicitly recommended on a prof's syllabus. Many profs explicitly recommend against using supplements because it focuses you on the "easy" stuff (memorizing the rules) rather than the stuff that will get you points on the exam (knowing the prof's particular style, applying the rules to challenging sets of facts). Your results may vary, just my $0.02.

tomwatts wrote:
despina wrote:(underwater basket weaving regulation?)

I hear that class is a mess of admiralty law and is full of people gunning to clerk in the Virgin Islands.


:lol: :lol:

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:50 pm

The Civ Pro E&E is useful for most profs, unless you were from a certain section my year, in which case lol nothing could help you or save you from that prof (who was a visiting prof).

Otherwise, the usefulness of supplements will vary too widely based on course for anyone to be able to give you a general recommendation. Outlines made by students who took the course will probably be more helpful than supplements in most cases.

despina wrote: Similarly, the topics run the gamut, and if you're not interested in anything in our huge curriculum then law school / a legal career seems like a choice that will make you miserable? ...but it saddens me to hear that people aren't even interested in finding something that engages them, either in substance or format.


I've met enough people who enjoy their legal careers who absolutely despised law school and vice versa to suggest that the enjoyment of law school & a legal career can be exclusive of each other. Sure, it overlaps in a lot of people, but there are definitely plenty of people for whom there is little to no overlap.

And yes, I'm sure it saddens them too.

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DELG
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DELG » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:01 pm

I know very few people who really enjoy practice, and their enjoyment of law school beforehand is basically unrelated. Your interest in LS curriculum is not a good factor in determining if you should go to law school. Practice is just too different.

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MyopicVisage
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby MyopicVisage » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:20 pm

tomwatts wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:I'm not sure I'd call Stanford on a farm. :lol:

But that's what all the locals call it!


I've never heard anyone at Stanford call it the farm other than to joke about "we live on a farm" :D . Weather is usually great but it rains a lot in the winter (wet season). Some of us call it the long depression. In the spring/summer/fall, girls wear bikinis and tan on the lawn.

SLS students usually live in Munger, minutes walk from law school, fairly new, with underground parking ($330 for the whole year), AC, kitchen, private bathroom, elevator, adult-size beds, and a grand piano on the first floor that you can play. Did I mention laundry is free? I think only 1 out of 5 buildings in Munger is open to non-law-school-students, but I'm sure you could request to live in other campus housing which is cheaper, if you want to avoid living with law students.

There are meal plans http://web.stanford.edu/dept/rde/cgi-bin/drupal/dining/graduate-meal-plans

Downtown Palo Alto is pretty accessible if you have a bike (5 to 10min ride). You can also take the marguerite shuttle (free). I'd suggest you bring a car. Parking is cheap and easy, and without a car you really can't go anywhere. Public transit is very slow and inconvenient.

Disclaimer: I'm going to HLS.

Feel free to PM me. I'd be happy to answer your questions about Stanford (not SLS specifically since I don't go there).

Please don't quote..

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:58 pm

MyopicVisage wrote:I've never heard anyone at Stanford call it the farm other than to joke about "we live on a farm"

Confession: I actually got that from going to Berkeley. When we're not calling Stanford by the last two words of its full name ("Junior College"), we call it "The Farm" a lot.

speedtracer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby speedtracer » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:14 pm

I'm currently trying to decide between transferring to Harvard, possibly to Stanford, or remaining at my current school, the University of Florida. What's the social life like at Harvard? Also, is anyone here doing the Law, Science, and Technology program?

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:40 pm

speedtracer wrote:I'm currently trying to decide between transferring to Harvard, possibly to Stanford, or remaining at my current school, the University of Florida. What's the social life like at Harvard?


Congrats on your acceptance! Unless you definitely want to practice in FL and have great financial aid there, I imagine that to either HLS or SLS would be a good move in opening up career options.

You can find lots of info about social life searching through this thread -- is there something specific you want to know? The short answer is that it varies and there's a little bit of everything depending on what type of socializing you're into. Transfers who join student groups and reach out don't seem to have much trouble making friends.

speedtracer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby speedtracer » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:44 pm

despina wrote:
speedtracer wrote:I'm currently trying to decide between transferring to Harvard, possibly to Stanford, or remaining at my current school, the University of Florida. What's the social life like at Harvard?


Congrats on your acceptance! Unless you definitely want to practice in FL and have great financial aid there, I imagine that to either HLS or SLS would be a good move in opening up career options.

You can find lots of info about social life searching through this thread -- is there something specific you want to know? The short answer is that it varies and there's a little bit of everything depending on what type of socializing you're into. Transfers who join student groups and reach out don't seem to have much trouble making friends.


Thank you! I think I want to practice in Florida (though I'm not 100% sure), and my financial aid is decent (though I'm trying to get more of it). That's part of what makes this decision tricky (among a bunch of other things).

I'll read through this thread tonight. I have to make this decision by Friday, so it's pretty time-pressured. I'm more of a nerd - I like video and board games. I also really enjoy going out to bars though. At Florida, that's pretty popular, but when I was in grad school at Northwestern, nobody liked to do anything fun, which made that miserable. Are you currently at Harvard?

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:55 pm

speedtracer wrote:I'll read through this thread tonight. I have to make this decision by Friday, so it's pretty time-pressured. I'm more of a nerd - I like video and board games. I also really enjoy going out to bars though. At Florida, that's pretty popular, but when I was in grad school at Northwestern, nobody liked to do anything fun, which made that miserable. Are you currently at Harvard?


Wow, that's a quick time to make a decision! You can also ask the admissions office to put you in touch directly with students who share your interests if you want to talk to folks on the phone.

Yup, I'm a rising 3L. Nerds abound at HLS -- lots of folks hang out at apartments and play video games. JOLT, the Journal of Law and Technology, has some consoles in their office and is always having Mario Kart tournaments. There's also a newish group led by Prof Nesson that plays poker, chess, and board games... can't remember off the top of my head what it's called. Going out to bars is also popular, though the bar scene in Cambridge isn't exactly the most thrilling, and it can be hard to convince people to cross the river, especially when it gets cold.

speedtracer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby speedtracer » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:29 pm

despina wrote:
speedtracer wrote:I'll read through this thread tonight. I have to make this decision by Friday, so it's pretty time-pressured. I'm more of a nerd - I like video and board games. I also really enjoy going out to bars though. At Florida, that's pretty popular, but when I was in grad school at Northwestern, nobody liked to do anything fun, which made that miserable. Are you currently at Harvard?


Wow, that's a quick time to make a decision! You can also ask the admissions office to put you in touch directly with students who share your interests if you want to talk to folks on the phone.

Yup, I'm a rising 3L. Nerds abound at HLS -- lots of folks hang out at apartments and play video games. JOLT, the Journal of Law and Technology, has some consoles in their office and is always having Mario Kart tournaments. There's also a newish group led by Prof Nesson that plays poker, chess, and board games... can't remember off the top of my head what it's called. Going out to bars is also popular, though the bar scene in Cambridge isn't exactly the most thrilling, and it can be hard to convince people to cross the river, especially when it gets cold.


You are so speaking my language. Thank you for your help!

speedtracer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby speedtracer » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:53 pm

One last question, which I admit is kind of childish, but I'm curious to know your answer: do you feel like you have fun there?

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:05 pm

speedtracer wrote:One last question, which I admit is kind of childish, but I'm curious to know your answer: do you feel like you have fun there?


You can have as much or as little fun as you want. It's entirely within your control. And that's true whether you're at SLS or HLS.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:51 pm

ph14 wrote:
speedtracer wrote:One last question, which I admit is kind of childish, but I'm curious to know your answer: do you feel like you have fun there?


You can have as much or as little fun as you want. It's entirely within your control. And that's true whether you're at SLS or HLS.


This. Law school was a lot of fun. Even parts of 1L. Though especially after 1L.

550 people at HLS, so you'll find people interested in doing things you want to do.

My 2L year I usually went out to bars and party on Friday night with one group of friends, and then took it easy on the liver and played board games on Saturday night with another group of friends. I have a small group of friends who like both--but people like that are harder to find, though Harvard was large enough for it.

"Law, Science, and Technology program"
These programs aren't really like organized programs. But, there is plenty of opportunity here if that is what you're interested in. As mentioned, JOLT tends to draw a lot of people like that. The organization functions both as a journal and as an affinity group. You should feel free to go to their social events during 1L even if you don't feel like you have time to do the actual journal work.

ETA: 550 people per class.

speedtracer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby speedtracer » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:00 pm

ph14 wrote:
speedtracer wrote:One last question, which I admit is kind of childish, but I'm curious to know your answer: do you feel like you have fun there?


You can have as much or as little fun as you want. It's entirely within your control. And that's true whether you're at SLS or HLS.


That makes sense
acrossthelake wrote:
ph14 wrote:
speedtracer wrote:One last question, which I admit is kind of childish, but I'm curious to know your answer: do you feel like you have fun there?


You can have as much or as little fun as you want. It's entirely within your control. And that's true whether you're at SLS or HLS.


This. Law school was a lot of fun. Even parts of 1L. Though especially after 1L.

550 people at HLS, so you'll find people interested in doing things you want to do.

My 2L year I usually went out to bars and party on Friday night with one group of friends, and then took it easy on the liver and played board games on Saturday night with another group of friends. I have a small group of friends who like both--but people like that are harder to find, though Harvard was large enough for it.

"Law, Science, and Technology program"
These programs aren't really like organized programs. But, there is plenty of opportunity here if that is what you're interested in. As mentioned, JOLT tends to draw a lot of people like that. The organization functions both as a journal and as an affinity group. You should feel free to go to their social events during 1L even if you don't feel like you have time to do the actual journal work.


That sounds exciting and definitely eases some of my concerns. Thank you! I know transfers can't really do Law Review, but could I still do JOLT as a transfer?




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