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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crystalized
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby crystalized » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:36 pm

Are there any students who work part-time during their 1L year? Is it doable or would it be too much? By part-time, I mean something like 15 hours a week.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:51 pm

crystalized wrote:Are there any students who work part-time during their 1L year? Is it doable or would it be too much? By part-time, I mean something like 15 hours a week.


I don't know anybody who does and I think it's a poor choice for most people of how to spend your time 1L year. Caveat being if this is some great opportunity where you'll learn a lot. I think it makes more sense for 2L or 3L, but I still don't know a single person who does outside of jobs like TA, RA, BSA, etc. I say this as someone who regularly worked 15-20 hours a week in undergrad. The amount of money you will earn is probably just not going to be worth it relative to what you will be in desperate need for during 1L: more time. I always feel deprived of more time to study more, to study better, to do my activities better, to rest, to relax, to spend more time with friends, to make more friends, to bum around on the internet, etc. At no point during the school year did I ever say hmmm, I really have a lot of free time on my hands. The day runs out before I want it to every day and it doesn't stop until the semester is over. Even during spring break right now I spend half of my day every day working...and I work less than most of my friends.

1L counts for a whole lot, particularly if you want to go into biglaw, but even for people who don't. For 70%+ Harvard grads, their post-grad employment will ride almost entirely on what they do during 1L year in terms of grades, etc. And just the amount you're going to earn per hour working part-time will pale in comparison to how much you'll earn per hour when you graduate. For those going into public interest, you're still better off redirecting time towards getting involved in student practice organizations or orgs directed at causes.

I think being involved in an activity or two is wise--it's fun to get involved in the law school, but additionally most activities involve a learning element for a skill that will be nice to have post-grad, whether that's writing, research, or client skills. It's useful to you and it's something to talk about during your interviews.

Most part-time jobs are just going to not add anything if you've done that type of work before law school. I'm not turning my nose up at things like waitressing, but I assume if you're asking for law school you did that in undergrad, so you can *already* talk about those skills.

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crystalized
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby crystalized » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:28 pm

Fair enough.
What kind of part-time jobs would a 2L or 3L do during the school year? How common is it (i.e. 50% of the class? 25% of the class?)?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:32 pm

crystalized wrote:Fair enough.
What kind of part-time jobs would a 2L or 3L do during the school year? How common is it (i.e. 50% of the class? 25% of the class?)?


Teaching assistant, research assistant, BSA, residential adviser. Some 1Ls are research assistants, and I recommend that, though I sort of consider it an activity--the purpose for that should be more about the research experience and the connections you forge with a professor, rather than the pay. I'm doing research for a prof for free and that's def. worth my time more than something that paid me minimally. I don't know a single person who does anything outside of that kind of realm as a part-time job, like not a soul, though I don't have a sampling of the entire study body of course. What kind of part-time jobs were you thinking about? What's your motivation?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby abacus » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:36 pm

Thanks for answering questions! I'm curious about the grading system; since they removed the fixed grade distributions, do most professors still give out around 35% H and 8% LP?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:37 pm

abacus wrote:Thanks for answering questions! I'm curious about the grading system; since they removed the fixed grade distributions, do most professors still give out around 35% H and 8% LP?


They changed the curve and now refuse to tell anybody what the distributions are. Our professors are forbidden from telling us. So your guess is as good as ours.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby crystalized » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:41 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
crystalized wrote:Fair enough.
What kind of part-time jobs would a 2L or 3L do during the school year? How common is it (i.e. 50% of the class? 25% of the class?)?


Teaching assistant, research assistant, BSA, residential adviser. Some 1Ls are research assistants, and I recommend that, though I sort of consider it an activity--the purpose for that should be more about the research experience and the connections you forge with a professor, rather than the pay. I'm doing research for a prof for free and that's def. worth my time more than something that paid me minimally. I don't know a single person who does anything outside of that kind of realm as a part-time job, like not a soul, though I don't have a sampling of the entire study body of course. What kind of part-time jobs were you thinking about? What's your motivation?


Just something to pay the monthly interest on my private loan. But I wouldn't do it if it'll affect my studies.
What is BSA? And I assume residential adviser is similar to those in undergrad, for residences?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby abacus » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:51 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
abacus wrote:Thanks for answering questions! I'm curious about the grading system; since they removed the fixed grade distributions, do most professors still give out around 35% H and 8% LP?


They changed the curve and now refuse to tell anybody what the distributions are. Our professors are forbidden from telling us. So your guess is as good as ours.


Oh that's interesting... Would you have a sense about whether LPs have become more or less prevalent? Thanks!

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:59 pm

crystalized wrote:
Just something to pay the monthly interest on my private loan. But I wouldn't do it if it'll affect my studies.
What is BSA? And I assume residential adviser is similar to those in undergrad, for residences?


BSA are the Board of Student Advisers. This probably explains it better than I can: http://hlsorgs.com/bsa/
It's hard to say whether it'll affect your studies, but it's just not worth it. You want to be either studying, skill-acquiring, or taking care of yourself (friends, relaxation, sleep, hobbies). If you go into biglaw, it'll be much worth it to do well and get that job, rather than risk sacrificing something it. It's a bit penny-wise, pound-foolish. If you go into public interest, you'll have LIPP and the difference amount of debt you have will at that point not even matter since your contribution each month will be the same either way. http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/ ... scale.html

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:16 am

crystalized wrote:Are there any students who work part-time during their 1L year? Is it doable or would it be too much? By part-time, I mean something like 15 hours a week.


I know two people off the top of my head who work part time. At the very least, it will make it harder to get good grades and make 1L more stressful than it already is. I would at least not work during fall semester and see. But if you don't care that much about grades then it's definitely do able. I would definitely recommend not working though personally.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:19 am

abacus wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
abacus wrote:Thanks for answering questions! I'm curious about the grading system; since they removed the fixed grade distributions, do most professors still give out around 35% H and 8% LP?


They changed the curve and now refuse to tell anybody what the distributions are. Our professors are forbidden from telling us. So your guess is as good as ours.


Oh that's interesting... Would you have a sense about whether LPs have become more or less prevalent? Thanks!


It's hard to tell. I don't think it is something to worry about to be honest now. I don't know very many people's grades but I don't know anyone with a LP and I my sense is that you have to do pretty badly to get one. Of course, it varies by professor.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:25 am

acrossthelake wrote:
crystalized wrote:
Just something to pay the monthly interest on my private loan. But I wouldn't do it if it'll affect my studies.
What is BSA? And I assume residential adviser is similar to those in undergrad, for residences?


BSA are the Board of Student Advisers. This probably explains it better than I can: http://hlsorgs.com/bsa/
It's hard to say whether it'll affect your studies, but it's just not worth it. You want to be either studying, skill-acquiring, or taking care of yourself (friends, relaxation, sleep, hobbies). If you go into biglaw, it'll be much worth it to do well and get that job, rather than risk sacrificing something it. It's a bit penny-wise, pound-foolish. If you go into public interest, you'll have LIPP and the difference amount of debt you have will at that point not even matter since your contribution each month will be the same either way. http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/ ... scale.html


Also, I agree with everything that ATL has said. Just to elaborate on the BSA: it is a paid position, but it is paid very little. If you want to do BSA you would do it for the experience and definitely not for the money. The main thing that BSAs do is serve as teaching assistants for the LRW classes. They look over your first draft for you basically before your LRW prof reads it. They also are the upperclassmen that are supposed to be there for you if you have questions about classes or school or anything, or if you have personal issues/questions. There are also BSAs that do other things, like write the materials for the writing assignments.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:40 am

abacus wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
abacus wrote:Thanks for answering questions! I'm curious about the grading system; since they removed the fixed grade distributions, do most professors still give out around 35% H and 8% LP?


They changed the curve and now refuse to tell anybody what the distributions are. Our professors are forbidden from telling us. So your guess is as good as ours.


Oh that's interesting... Would you have a sense about whether LPs have become more or less prevalent? Thanks!


People with LPs definitely do not broadcast it, so not really. There might be less. I know profs who say they give out maybe 3 a year, which is less than 8%.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby englawyer » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:56 am

acrossthelake wrote:
abacus wrote:Thanks for answering questions! I'm curious about the grading system; since they removed the fixed grade distributions, do most professors still give out around 35% H and 8% LP?


They changed the curve and now refuse to tell anybody what the distributions are. Our professors are forbidden from telling us. So your guess is as good as ours.


when did they change the curve? i haven't heard of that.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TennesseeBob » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:21 am

I know this is more about admissions than attending the school itself- but have you heard anything about the way Harvard treats multiple lsat scores? is it still largely the average?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:35 am

englawyer wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
abacus wrote:Thanks for answering questions! I'm curious about the grading system; since they removed the fixed grade distributions, do most professors still give out around 35% H and 8% LP?


They changed the curve and now refuse to tell anybody what the distributions are. Our professors are forbidden from telling us. So your guess is as good as ours.


when did they change the curve? i haven't heard of that.

It's hidden somewhere in the deep recesses of the website but i can't find it because i forgot how to get there.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby lessthanjake » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:56 pm

I have a few questions about clinics/cross-registration/written work at Harvard:

1. I know you can take a maximum of 12 clinical credits and no more than 1 clinic at a time. In practice, though, is it realistic to be able to take 12 clinical credits? I anticipate really enjoying clinics, and with all the clinic options HLS has, I am hoping to be able to take a few of them.

2. How difficult is it to get into the Supreme Court clinic? Obviously this seems like an incredibly interesting clinic, but I imagine a ton of people try to get in it. What are the chances I'd be able to participate in this?

3. How often do people take cross-registered courses? I imagine that there are plenty of interesting cross-registration options. For instance, I might be interested in taking classes at the business school. Do students actually cross-register? How do the grades work when you do this? How do potential employers see cross-registered classes (I know law firms will have hired you after 1L where you won't have cross-registration, but I'm referring to clerkships/gov jobs, etc)?

4. Is it common to do some sort of independent written work to fulfill the written work requirement? I might eventually be interested in legal academia, and I know this requires having written/published articles. As such, the idea of getting credit to build up that part of my resume sounds attractive. Is this feasible? Does it make sense to do this?


Bear in mind, I am aware that I can only take 16 credits total between clinics/cross-registration/written work. I am just curious about each individual one.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:14 pm

I have no idea re: your first three questions since I haven't looked into it. For #4, I know a fair number of people who did independent written work. They didn't mention whether they were doing it to fulfill the requirement. I think they were more motivated by the stuff you mentioned (academia).

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby englawyer » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:22 pm

lessthanjake wrote:I have a few questions about clinics/cross-registration/written work at Harvard:

1. I know you can take a maximum of 12 clinical credits and no more than 1 clinic at a time. In practice, though, is it realistic to be able to take 12 clinical credits? I anticipate really enjoying clinics, and with all the clinic options HLS has, I am hoping to be able to take a few of them.


this is possible. some clinics are more in demand than others. I think the ones that involve 1 hr commute each way to Jamaica Plain (legal services center) are in particular less popular. thus it seems quite possible to do a clinic for three semesters 2L/3L year with four credits each (you can choose 2,3,or 4 credits for each clinical). however, i have heard clinics are better in theory than in practice because the amount of work you actually put in exceeds the amount expected on paper (i think 4 credit = 20 hr, 2 credit = 10 hr, 3 credit=15 hr).

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:56 pm

lessthanjake wrote:1. I know you can take a maximum of 12 clinical credits and no more than 1 clinic at a time. In practice, though, is it realistic to be able to take 12 clinical credits? I anticipate really enjoying clinics, and with all the clinic options HLS has, I am hoping to be able to take a few of them.

If you do the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (one of the three possible two-year-commitment extracurriculars you can try out for in the spring semester of 1L), you will get all of those clinical credits for sure. The answer above is also accurate: some clinics are much more popular than others. Don't know which, yet, because I'm a 1L and haven't looked into it at all.

lessthanjake wrote:3. How often do people take cross-registered courses? I imagine that there are plenty of interesting cross-registration options. For instance, I might be interested in taking classes at the business school. Do students actually cross-register? How do the grades work when you do this? How do potential employers see cross-registered classes (I know law firms will have hired you after 1L where you won't have cross-registration, but I'm referring to clerkships/gov jobs, etc)?

Plenty of students do this. I'm a little unusual, because I'm doing a JD/MPP (just got in a few days ago), so I'm doing basically all my cross-registration at HKS, but it's not uncommon at all. If you want to do corporate law or have businesses as clients generally, it's good to know a little of what your clients would be thinking about and would have learned in business school, so that's generally viewed favorably in those contexts. Maybe less important for, say, public interest, depending on the classes and the type of work.

If I'm not mistaken, the grades just show up on your transcript like any other grades, except they won't be on the DS/H/P/LP scale that HLS uses. Uh, I guess I'll have a real answer to this in another year or two.

lessthanjake wrote:4. Is it common to do some sort of independent written work to fulfill the written work requirement? I might eventually be interested in legal academia, and I know this requires having written/published articles. As such, the idea of getting credit to build up that part of my resume sounds attractive. Is this feasible? Does it make sense to do this?

If you're interested in legal academia, you want to do plenty of scholarship, and there's a ton of opportunity to do it at HLS. You can get credit for it during the semester or (commonly) January Term, and you can get research funding to work on a paper for a few weeks over the summer. I have started to look into this, because it sounds really interesting, and it's definitely something that people do in a significant way here.

Also, I want to second the idea that working 15 hours a week during 1L is way, way, way too much. I was doing 2-3 hours of online work per week from my old job during my first semester, and the only reason it was okay was that it was a bunch of math and stuff, really different from reading cases, so I viewed it as a way of blowing off steam. Any more than that would've made me crazy.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:57 pm

tomwatts wrote:
lessthanjake wrote:1. I know you can take a maximum of 12 clinical credits and no more than 1 clinic at a time. In practice, though, is it realistic to be able to take 12 clinical credits? I anticipate really enjoying clinics, and with all the clinic options HLS has, I am hoping to be able to take a few of them.

If you do the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (one of the three possible two-year-commitment extracurriculars you can try out for in the spring semester of 1L), you will get all of those clinical credits for sure. The answer above is also accurate: some clinics are much more popular than others. Don't know which, yet, because I'm a 1L and haven't looked into it at all.

lessthanjake wrote:3. How often do people take cross-registered courses? I imagine that there are plenty of interesting cross-registration options. For instance, I might be interested in taking classes at the business school. Do students actually cross-register? How do the grades work when you do this? How do potential employers see cross-registered classes (I know law firms will have hired you after 1L where you won't have cross-registration, but I'm referring to clerkships/gov jobs, etc)?

Plenty of students do this. I'm a little unusual, because I'm doing a JD/MPP (just got in a few days ago), so I'm doing basically all my cross-registration at HKS, but it's not uncommon at all. If you want to do corporate law or have businesses as clients generally, it's good to know a little of what your clients would be thinking about and would have learned in business school, so that's generally viewed favorably in those contexts. Maybe less important for, say, public interest, depending on the classes and the type of work.

If I'm not mistaken, the grades just show up on your transcript like any other grades, except they won't be on the DS/H/P/LP scale that HLS uses. Uh, I guess I'll have a real answer to this in another year or two.

lessthanjake wrote:4. Is it common to do some sort of independent written work to fulfill the written work requirement? I might eventually be interested in legal academia, and I know this requires having written/published articles. As such, the idea of getting credit to build up that part of my resume sounds attractive. Is this feasible? Does it make sense to do this?

If you're interested in legal academia, you want to do plenty of scholarship, and there's a ton of opportunity to do it at HLS. You can get credit for it during the semester or (commonly) January Term, and you can get research funding to work on a paper for a few weeks over the summer. I have started to look into this, because it sounds really interesting, and it's definitely something that people do in a significant way here.

Also, I want to second the idea that working 15 hours a week during 1L is way, way, way too much. I was doing 2-3 hours of online work per week from my old job during my first semester, and the only reason it was okay was that it was a bunch of math and stuff, really different from reading cases, so I viewed it as a way of blowing off steam. Any more than that would've made me crazy.


Is the JD/MPP a 4 year program?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:54 pm

ph14 wrote:Is the JD/MPP a 4 year program?

Yes. Am finishing 1L at HLS now. I'll be at HKS next year, then (mostly) back to the law school for two years.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:12 pm

tomwatts wrote:
ph14 wrote:Is the JD/MPP a 4 year program?

Yes. Am finishing 1L at HLS now. I'll be at HKS next year, then (mostly) back to the law school for two years.


What do you want to do with the JD/MPP?

freestallion
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby freestallion » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:32 pm

Hey tomwatts, I'm curious about the JD/MPP too. Do you feel like it's worth the extra year and cost? Does it cost basically the same amount as 1 extra year of law school?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby splbagel » Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:00 pm

freestallion wrote:Hey tomwatts, I'm curious about the JD/MPP too. Do you feel like it's worth the extra year and cost? Does it cost basically the same amount as 1 extra year of law school?


Would love to hear the answer to this as well, as I'm considering the JD/MPP to go into policy analysis / advocacy work.

Random useful thing I learned at ASW: the LIPP covers up to $30k of extra debt from a joint degree.

http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/de ... nancialAid

But HKS tuition is currently 41,418, not to mention living expenses. So how do public-interest-minded folks make up the difference? Fellowships?




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