Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:56 pm

esther0123 wrote:Some people are taking notes explicitly and briefing every case. I'm just highliting and scribbling notes on the side due to time constraints but I'm wondering if this will lead to mediocre grades. people tell me conflicting things (e.g. briefing and note taking is excessive waste of time...) so I'm not sure what to think :cry:

No formula. If it helps know that 10% will still be briefing every case come November. Also know that there are plenty of people with great grades who have never briefed a case.

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:24 pm

wert3813 wrote:there are plenty of people with great grades who have never briefed a case.

Yup.

Fred012
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Fred012 » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:12 pm

wert3813 wrote:
esther0123 wrote:Some people are taking notes explicitly and briefing every case. I'm just highliting and scribbling notes on the side due to time constraints but I'm wondering if this will lead to mediocre grades. people tell me conflicting things (e.g. briefing and note taking is excessive waste of time...) so I'm not sure what to think :cry:

No formula. If it helps know that 10% will still be briefing every case come November. Also know that there are plenty of people with great grades who have never briefed a case.


Are those exceptions? That is to say, is there a significant correlation between those who brief and take explicit note sand those with Hs? How did the the 10% who continued to devote that time do on exams? Generally well?

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wert3813
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby wert3813 » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:26 pm

Fred012 wrote:
wert3813 wrote:
esther0123 wrote:Some people are taking notes explicitly and briefing every case. I'm just highliting and scribbling notes on the side due to time constraints but I'm wondering if this will lead to mediocre grades. people tell me conflicting things (e.g. briefing and note taking is excessive waste of time...) so I'm not sure what to think :cry:

No formula. If it helps know that 10% will still be briefing every case come November. Also know that there are plenty of people with great grades who have never briefed a case.


Are those exceptions? That is to say, is there a significant correlation between those who brief and take explicit note sand those with Hs? How did the the 10% who continued to devote that time do on exams? Generally well?

We don't even know what median is so there is no way we could possibly know this. If you are asking for guesses I would doubt there is much of a correlation. Try your best. Do what works for you.

NoLongerALurker
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby NoLongerALurker » Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:54 pm

You got to HLS because you excelled in college. Now's not the time to re-invent the wheel. Do what you did in college, just do it harder (ie, if you were a super prepared type in college, step up your super prepared game but take that approach...If you were laid back last-minute guy in college, keep that ethos but just make sure you prepare better than that...) - You're not gonna reinvent yourself completely, have some faith in yourself.

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BlakcMajikc
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby BlakcMajikc » Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:36 pm

NoLongerALurker wrote:You got to HLS because you excelled in college. Now's not the time to re-invent the wheel. Do what you did in college, just do it harder (ie, if you were a super prepared type in college, step up your super prepared game but take that approach...If you were laid back last-minute guy in college, keep that ethos but just make sure you prepare better than that...) - You're not gonna reinvent yourself completely, have some faith in yourself.


TITCR.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:52 pm

Nevermind
Last edited by ph14 on Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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BlakcMajikc
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby BlakcMajikc » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:13 am

Here's my advice on how to do well in law school:
Enter law school. Take on this mantra. Prosper.



You just do you and umma do me.

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:53 am

I'd adjust for the rigor of your undergrad, though. If you laid back and did well because your classmates weren't motivated, or you took easy classes, you might indeed want to really step it up. The curve won't help you anymore (for 1l, at least).

I say this as someone who rode the curve in high school, who was then caught by surprise first semester of college when I no longer had lazy peers to count on filling out the bottom 99% of the curve.

Fred012
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Fred012 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:57 am

acrossthelake wrote:I'd adjust for the rigor of your undergrad, though. If you laid back and did well because your classmates weren't motivated, or you took easy classes, you might indeed want to really step it up. The curve won't help you anymore (for 1l, at least).

I say this as someone who rode the curve in high school, who was then caught by surprise first semester of college when I no longer had lazy peers to count on filling out the bottom 99% of the curve.


yeah I'm not too compelled by just taking the same approach as i had in undergrad. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't get me very far at HLS - and not because of the rigor of the school either

daisy8080
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby daisy8080 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 4:53 pm

Hi,

1) Can any accepted law school students talk about what sorts of extracurriculars they did in college?

2) Opinions on joining a pre-law fraternity for internship/networking connections? (My current mode of thinking: pre-law frat connections --> prestigious internships --> tie breaker for law school admissions between someone else w/ same LSAT/GPA as me)

Thanks in advance!

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HorseThief
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby HorseThief » Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:14 pm

daisy8080 wrote:Hi,

1) Can any accepted law school students talk about what sorts of extracurriculars they did in college?

2) Opinions on joining a pre-law fraternity for internship/networking connections? (My current mode of thinking: pre-law frat connections --> prestigious internships --> tie breaker for law school admissions between someone else w/ same LSAT/GPA as me)

Thanks in advance!


1) Definitely do things that you'll enjoy so that you put in the time and effort to get to a leadership position. That's a good start. Student government positions won't hurt. If you have the time, do something that will look relatively interesting on your resume, ie a music group, rock climbing club, inner-city tutoring, etc. Something that will start a conversation.

What you should do kinda depends on what's available on campus. If you can't find anything interesting, though, start it yourself and get lots of other people involved. Just remember that you should do the activity for its own sake, not because you think it will get you into LS.

2) Idk, maybe? If that's the only way to get a prestigious internship, then sure. I'd bet you have other options though.

Fred012
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Fred012 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:13 pm

2 - no. just no. in fact, avoid anything labeled "pre-law"

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sjgonzalez3
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby sjgonzalez3 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:39 pm

daisy8080 wrote:Hi,

1) Can any accepted law school students talk about what sorts of extracurriculars they did in college?

2) Opinions on joining a pre-law fraternity for internship/networking connections? (My current mode of thinking: pre-law frat connections --> prestigious internships --> tie breaker for law school admissions between someone else w/ same LSAT/GPA as me)

Thanks in advance!


1.) Mine were pretty vanilla extracurriculars: Student government (somewhat leadership roles, though I definitely played them up). Like Horsethief mentioned above, you'll have a much better time if you do what you enjoy/sounds interesting. It will not only jump off the boring resume, but will also make it easier to talk animatedly about it during your interview.

2.) Sounds terrible. Some people work boring jobs, some interesting, and some just travel before law school--I wouldn't stress about which of the 3 you do, framing your experiences as something interesting to you is more important during your interview than the specific content.

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

Postby Mr. Elshal » Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:03 pm

Fred012 wrote:2 - no. just no. in fact, avoid anything labeled "pre-law"


I'll second this. Don't do anything prelaw. Just do the best things that you can do outside the realm of law, as a way of demonstrating to law schools how you will apply your legal knowledge once they impart it to you. They have no interest in you having academic legal knowledge before law school because they have to give it to you just the same. It's better to have really interesting experience doing something else (consulting internship, archeology internship, medical internship, political internship, or the full-time equivalents of anything like that), so that the school can envision your success upon law school graduation.

You don't have to be set on what kind of law you want to practice, but pre-law will not make you look very interesting.

daisy8080
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby daisy8080 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:30 pm

Thank you @Mr. Elshal, @sjgonzalez3, @HorseThief

You guys have been the most helpful bunch thus far.
Am I right in assuming you are all Harvard Law students?

Excuse me for the ignorance and high school mentality, but the fact that I can get into law school just by studying hard and not really doing extracurriculars is a groundbreaking idea for me. I'm a college freshman at a top 20 university and I did equal amounts of studying + passionate extra curricular work in fields related to my current major to get here. Am I generalizing too much here? It seems from what you guys are saying is that I should
1) not do anything "pre-law society" related
2) do something "fun" ec's to show an interesting side of me
3) maybe pick 1/2 general ecs that interest me, doesnt have to be fancy (im thinking student newspaper, literary magazine, volunteer club)
3) but basically just get a killer GPA+LSAT score
^Is this about on point?

So I shouldn't be doing anything "law-related", even during the summers with internships & such?
What did you do during the summers then, if you don't mind me asking?
Thanks again, you are the best bunch ever and I really appreciate your input and time.

rathgra
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby rathgra » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:36 pm

daisy8080 wrote:Hi,

1) Can any accepted law school students talk about what sorts of extracurriculars they did in college?

2) Opinions on joining a pre-law fraternity for internship/networking connections? (My current mode of thinking: pre-law frat connections --> prestigious internships --> tie breaker for law school admissions between someone else w/ same LSAT/GPA as me)

Thanks in advance!


Going against the grain here, my extracurriculars were all pre-law (not my major and my school had no such frat). The networking actually did help me get substantive internships in college, which have helped out a lot, especially as I came straight through.

Some necessary disclaimers to this - I don't think my extracurriculars played any role in me getting into law school and my internships probably only played a role insofar as I had a very good answer to why I wasn't taking time off. I'm also planning on going into an area of PI that's very big on commitment/loyalty - zero idea how my background would play at EIP.

Do what you enjoy doing - you'll sound more interesting talking about it and you'll be more likely to put in the effort to get leadership opportunities. But if that something is an area of law, running with it has yet to harm me (although, there is plenty of time for this to implode). And have hobbies - if you don't have an answer to "tell me something you do that's completely unrelated to law" as a college student, your life is probably a little too dark.

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HorseThief
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby HorseThief » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:47 pm

daisy8080 wrote:Thank you @Mr. Elshal, @sjgonzalez3, @HorseThief

You guys have been the most helpful bunch thus far.
Am I right in assuming you are all Harvard Law students?

lol, yes we are.

daisy8080 wrote:Excuse me for the ignorance and high school mentality, but the fact that I can get into law school just by studying hard and not really doing extracurriculars is a groundbreaking idea for me.


Whoa, whoa, whoa, we didn't say that. Excelling in your extracurriculars will be an important part of your application. Unless you have a 4.3 gpa and a 180, you'll need to fill out your application with other fun things.

daisy8080 wrote:I'm a college freshman at a top 20 university and I did equal amounts of studying + passionate extra curricular work in fields related to my current major to get here. Am I generalizing too much here? It seems from what you guys are saying is that I should
1) not do anything "pre-law society" related
2) do something "fun" ec's to show an interesting side of me
3) maybe pick 1/2 general ecs that interest me, doesnt have to be fancy (im thinking student newspaper, literary magazine, volunteer club)
3) but basically just get a killer GPA+LSAT score
^Is this about on point?

So I shouldn't be doing anything "law-related", even during the summers with internships & such?
What did you do during the summers then, if you don't mind me asking?
Thanks again, you are the best bunch ever and I really appreciate your input and time.


1. Don't feel like you need to do anything 'pre-law' related, but if it looks like fun, I'd say do it. Being active in your community is never a bad thing. Just make sure it isn't the only thing you do.
2. Yes.
3. Good.
4. These are important, but not everything. You've just started your college experience. Take some time to explore different subjects, do different jobs, have some fun. Definitely don't let the goal of law school prevent you from trying out other things.

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heythatslife
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby heythatslife » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:54 pm

daisy8080 wrote:Thank you @Mr. Elshal, @sjgonzalez3, @HorseThief

You guys have been the most helpful bunch thus far.
Am I right in assuming you are all Harvard Law students?

Excuse me for the ignorance and high school mentality, but the fact that I can get into law school just by studying hard and not really doing extracurriculars is a groundbreaking idea for me. I'm a college freshman at a top 20 university and I did equal amounts of studying + passionate extra curricular work in fields related to my current major to get here. Am I generalizing too much here? It seems from what you guys are saying is that I should
1) not do anything "pre-law society" related
2) do something "fun" ec's to show an interesting side of me
3) maybe pick 1/2 general ecs that interest me, doesnt have to be fancy (im thinking student newspaper, literary magazine, volunteer club)
3) but basically just get a killer GPA+LSAT score
^Is this about on point?

So I shouldn't be doing anything "law-related", even during the summers with internships & such?
What did you do during the summers then, if you don't mind me asking?
Thanks again, you are the best bunch ever and I really appreciate your input and time.


1) Pre-law societies are a flame. I mean, you can do them if you want but there's no benefit as far as beefing up your resume goes.
2) Do fun ECs that you actually find fun.
3) Same as above.
4) The importance of your LSAT and GPA vastly outweighs that of most ECs you can do in undergrad.
That said, you should seriously consider working for a couple of years after UG. You have a much better chance at doing anything substantial in 2 years than in 2 months, but more importantly it's a good opportunity get some perspective on your life. And relax... In the first 2 years of undergrad I was obsessed with getting into grad school, but in hindsight I wish I'd let myself enjoy college life a little more.

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

Postby Mr. Elshal » Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:47 am

heythatslife wrote:
daisy8080 wrote:Thank you @Mr. Elshal, @sjgonzalez3, @HorseThief

You guys have been the most helpful bunch thus far.
Am I right in assuming you are all Harvard Law students?

Excuse me for the ignorance and high school mentality, but the fact that I can get into law school just by studying hard and not really doing extracurriculars is a groundbreaking idea for me. I'm a college freshman at a top 20 university and I did equal amounts of studying + passionate extra curricular work in fields related to my current major to get here. Am I generalizing too much here? It seems from what you guys are saying is that I should
1) not do anything "pre-law society" related
2) do something "fun" ec's to show an interesting side of me
3) maybe pick 1/2 general ecs that interest me, doesnt have to be fancy (im thinking student newspaper, literary magazine, volunteer club)
3) but basically just get a killer GPA+LSAT score
^Is this about on point?

So I shouldn't be doing anything "law-related", even during the summers with internships & such?
What did you do during the summers then, if you don't mind me asking?
Thanks again, you are the best bunch ever and I really appreciate your input and time.


1) Pre-law societies are a flame. I mean, you can do them if you want but there's no benefit as far as beefing up your resume goes.
2) Do fun ECs that you actually find fun.
3) Same as above.
4) The importance of your LSAT and GPA vastly outweighs that of most ECs you can do in undergrad.
That said, you should seriously consider working for a couple of years after UG. You have a much better chance at doing anything substantial in 2 years than in 2 months, but more importantly it's a good opportunity get some perspective on your life. And relax... In the first 2 years of undergrad I was obsessed with getting into grad school, but in hindsight I wish I'd let myself enjoy college life a little more.


I agree with all of these. I did three real extracurriculars in UG and held a leadership position in two of them, but they were all business related (I majored in accounting and love all kinds of business-related work). I also worked somewhat full-time and at fairly interesting places throughout college, doing consulting, accounting, business management, and general startup work. However, I went straight through from college. The big benefit of my work experience and extracurriculars was that, during recruiting, interviewers had something interesting to ask me about and we had engaging conversations because of it. With grades definitely below median, I got an offer from a relatively selective firm. Lack of work experience or ec's probably won't break you, but doing them can help--especially if they are things you enjoy. You may go far on just grades and a high LSAT score, but you'll probably go farther if you have ec's or internships that you can speak about passionately.

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jrf12886
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby jrf12886 » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:42 am

You want a couple ECs to make your application more interesting. I would say fewer more interesting ECs are better than many boiler-plate ones. But the bottom line: never lets ECs interfere with getting a high GPA. GPA and LSAT are weighed much more heavily than ECs.

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:42 am

One year of full time work experience between UG and Law School is way more helpful for your law school app and firm interviews than any EC or internship, FYI.

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Single-Malt-Liquor
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Single-Malt-Liquor » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:09 am

TripTrip wrote:One year of full time work experience between UG and Law School is way more helpful for your law school app and firm interviews than any EC or internship, FYI.


Agreed.

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:45 am

So I'm starting to feel like a broken record on this thread a little bit so feel free to ignore me if you're sick of my preaching. But my two cents for what it's worth (based on my own experience, your results may vary):

Do what you want to do in college. Do activities that sound fun or challenging to you, not so you'll have something to talk about on a law school application or at an interview, but so that you'll have fun and be challenged in college. If you're doing things you care about and that make you happy, those later conversations will come naturally. If your default setting would be to do nothing but sleep or drink outside of class, then yeah, push yourself a little bit to get out of your shell, not only because it will look good on your law school applications but because college is an awesome opportunity to try new things for free and you should make the most of it.

The ECs that I spent the most time on in college were not even remotely pre-law (arts-related). I didn't go for high leadership positions in them, I didn't write about them on applications, I've never been asked about them in interviews. But they made me happy, they set me up to keep doing arts-related things that keep me happy outside of class now, and they taught me useful life skills. No regrets whatsoever.

acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:28 pm

I made the decision to apply to law school halfway through undergrad, but I didn't adjust what I was doing. I continued in the extracurriculars I had been doing because I liked them and I didn't seek out anything law-related in courses or extracurriculars. In fact, I basically had nothing law-related on my entire application outside of a small section of my PS that sort of explained why I had any interest at all. Still made it to Harvard, so take that for what it's worth.




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