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

Postby tomwatts » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:02 am

From a discussion back on page 241 (which is worth looking back at for the different perspectives):
tomwatts wrote:On the 0L reading thing, it's probably true that anything that you do before school starts won't help you on your 1L exams. However, I felt pretty disoriented during the first few weeks of 1L because I had wanted to get some basic background in, like, what law is before I started law school and decided, upon reading TLS, that I shouldn't. In hindsight, I would have been more comfortable had I ignored TLS on this — though, and I want to stress this, it would not have made any difference on my exams.

So if you really want to buy Glannon and read about Civ Pro before school starts, go ahead. You probably won't understand 50% of it, and you'll have to re-read it during the semester anyway, and it probably won't make any difference come exam time, but it might make the first couple of weeks a little less confusing. (Or possibly more confusing, but perhaps more confusing in a productive way — the prof is presenting something in a way that is not at all like the black-letter treatment in Glannon, which tells you something about what the prof cares about.)

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pylon
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby pylon » Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:00 pm

If we're not a member of a clinic or SPO, is there any reason for us to be checking the clinical email?

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:05 pm

pylon wrote:If we're not a member of a clinic or SPO, is there any reason for us to be checking the clinical email?

Nope.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Pneumonia » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:25 pm

pylon wrote:If we're not a member of a clinic or SPO, is there any reason for us to be checking the clinical email?


I have not checked mine since I set it up

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pylon
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby pylon » Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:16 pm

Aha great, thank you!

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saltisgood
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby saltisgood » Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:18 pm

How knowledgeable are incoming students about How To Do Law School generally? Like, I'm reading through some of these discussions of outlining and briefing where it's just assumed it's what you do, and it's a little freaky. Is it just a hive mind you enter into once you start school? Do people come in knowing how to take notes/read or is that part of the first few weeks?

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:03 pm

saltisgood wrote:How knowledgeable are incoming students about How To Do Law School generally? Like, I'm reading through some of these discussions of outlining and briefing where it's just assumed it's what you do, and it's a little freaky. Is it just a hive mind you enter into once you start school? Do people come in knowing how to take notes/read or is that part of the first few weeks?

I came in knowing literally nothing. Some people will be like me. Some people will have a little more background — people whose parents are lawyers, people who were paralegals before school — but most will have very little clue, even if they think they know stuff. There will be events and classes where people explain how to do stuff like brief cases and make outlines.

I found that I had to brief cases differently for each class at first, because profs cared about different things. And my outlines didn't end up all looking the same until after 1L year. So there's a lot of trial and error, and just about any generalization breaks down for some classes. Even people who look like they know what they're doing probably don't really. Don't worry too much yet.

I might post something about how I approached class as we get closer to the start of the school year, when people might reasonably start thinking about this.

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:51 pm

tomwatts wrote:
saltisgood wrote:How knowledgeable are incoming students about How To Do Law School generally? Like, I'm reading through some of these discussions of outlining and briefing where it's just assumed it's what you do, and it's a little freaky. Is it just a hive mind you enter into once you start school? Do people come in knowing how to take notes/read or is that part of the first few weeks?

I came in knowing literally nothing. Some people will be like me. Some people will have a little more background — people whose parents are lawyers, people who were paralegals before school — but most will have very little clue, even if they think they know stuff. There will be events and classes where people explain how to do stuff like brief cases and make outlines.

I found that I had to brief cases differently for each class at first, because profs cared about different things. And my outlines didn't end up all looking the same until after 1L year. So there's a lot of trial and error, and just about any generalization breaks down for some classes. Even people who look like they know what they're doing probably don't really. Don't worry too much yet.

I might post something about how I approached class as we get closer to the start of the school year, when people might reasonably start thinking about this.


Co-sign all of this, especially the bolded.

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:16 pm

Also you shouldn't know how to brief before law school.

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flyingboy
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby flyingboy » Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:20 am

Also, in my personal opinion, briefing is a complete waste of time. I felt just better off re-reading the cases and trying to figure out the coherent backstory behind every case.

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romanesque
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby romanesque » Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:52 am

Hi guys, thanks for doing this - question about languages as a 1L. I've spent the last 6 months getting my foreign language skills really up to snuff out here in Asia, and I'm worried that I'll lose them during the intensity of the 1L in English. Any ideas about how I could maintain them? I know you can cross-register, but it seems like you can only actually take those classes as a 2 or 3L. Are there established language tables or language partners? Can I volunteer to interpret anywhere (I have experience interpreting in court)?

I know 1L is a lot of work, but my language skills are also very important to me.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:32 am

romanesque wrote:Hi guys, thanks for doing this - question about languages as a 1L. I've spent the last 6 months getting my foreign language skills really up to snuff out here in Asia, and I'm worried that I'll lose them during the intensity of the 1L in English. Any ideas about how I could maintain them? I know you can cross-register, but it seems like you can only actually take those classes as a 2 or 3L. Are there established language tables or language partners? Can I volunteer to interpret anywhere (I have experience interpreting in court)?

I know 1L is a lot of work, but my language skills are also very important to me.


I wasn't a part of HALS (Harvard Asia Law Society), but they had language tables back in my day. Not to be confused with APALSA (Asian Pacific American Law Student Association), which is more of an identity group, and has plenty of Asian Americans who mostly can only speak English. HALS (which had lots of ppl of other ethnic backgrounds) is more about an interest in Asia (including its languages), and back during my time seemed to hold more of the LLMs from Asia. I would suggest joining HALS and befriending an LLM (who might enjoy practicing English with you in exchange).

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flyingboy
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby flyingboy » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:33 am

acrossthelake wrote:
romanesque wrote:Hi guys, thanks for doing this - question about languages as a 1L. I've spent the last 6 months getting my foreign language skills really up to snuff out here in Asia, and I'm worried that I'll lose them during the intensity of the 1L in English. Any ideas about how I could maintain them? I know you can cross-register, but it seems like you can only actually take those classes as a 2 or 3L. Are there established language tables or language partners? Can I volunteer to interpret anywhere (I have experience interpreting in court)?

I know 1L is a lot of work, but my language skills are also very important to me.


I wasn't a part of HALS (Harvard Asia Law Society), but they had language tables back in my day. Not to be confused with APALSA (Asian Pacific American Law Student Association), which is more of an identity group, and has plenty of Asian Americans who mostly can only speak English. HALS (which had lots of ppl of other ethnic backgrounds) is more about an interest in Asia (including its languages), and back during my time seemed to hold more of the LLMs from Asia. I would suggest joining HALS and befriending an LLM (who might enjoy practicing English with you in exchange).


HALS has language tables for Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean.

a corsair
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby a corsair » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:28 am

Does anyone know if/how often Terry Terrace experiences brownouts or blackouts? I'm trying to decide whether or not to buy a UPS for my desktop.

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saltisgood
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby saltisgood » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:04 pm

tomwatts wrote:
saltisgood wrote:How knowledgeable are incoming students about How To Do Law School generally? Like, I'm reading through some of these discussions of outlining and briefing where it's just assumed it's what you do, and it's a little freaky. Is it just a hive mind you enter into once you start school? Do people come in knowing how to take notes/read or is that part of the first few weeks?

I came in knowing literally nothing. Some people will be like me. Some people will have a little more background — people whose parents are lawyers, people who were paralegals before school — but most will have very little clue, even if they think they know stuff. There will be events and classes where people explain how to do stuff like brief cases and make outlines.

I found that I had to brief cases differently for each class at first, because profs cared about different things. And my outlines didn't end up all looking the same until after 1L year. So there's a lot of trial and error, and just about any generalization breaks down for some classes. Even people who look like they know what they're doing probably don't really. Don't worry too much yet.

I might post something about how I approached class as we get closer to the start of the school year, when people might reasonably start thinking about this.


Thanks! The shared vocabulary can be a little overwhelming, but it's good to hear it's something that comes with time during the year. Still wouldn't mind hearing at some point how different folks approached classes / advice for how to be (or not to be) a first semester 1L when you know nothing. :)

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:36 pm

saltisgood wrote: Still wouldn't mind hearing at some point how different folks approached classes / advice for how to be (or not to be) a first semester 1L when you know nothing. :)


There is a LOT of this advice throughout this thread. I know it can be a pain in the butt to search through, but I'd try going back through the thread and focusing on August-September of each year.

My main advice is to accept that you know nothing and realize that you will often feel stupid. We are all smart people who are used to understanding things quickly, having the right answer, learning new skills on the first try, etc. For many of us, 1L fall can feel like a shock to the system. Just realize that everyone around you is feeling the same way, and that it's totally normal. You're still smart, you can still be a great lawyer, and you can still even get great grades even when you spend the first few months feeling like you have no idea what the hell is going on.

I'd also say don't be afraid to ask questions that seem really basic / dumb, especially during 1L fall. Your civ pro prof is going on and on about federal court jurisdiction, and you're thinking "wait, what's the difference between a federal court and a state court and why does it matter?" Your tort prof is going on and on about assault and false imprisonment, and you're thinking "wait, aren't those crimes too?" Your property prof explains that "estoppel is when someone is estopped" and you wonder "how on earth is that supposed to help me understand?" If you're wondering it, chances are that most of your classmates are, as well, and they will be grateful to you for being brave in asking the question rather than quietly pretending that you know everything or totally bullshitting a cold-call and wasting everybody's time because you're too afraid to admit you don't know what's going on.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:32 pm

The most disorienting thing for me was that for about the first month or so, I was doing the reading every night, coming to class prepared to answer the prof's questions, and totally unclear what I was learning. No one ever stepped back and explained the big picture, except to some extent in Civ Pro, and even then it was hard to connect the day-to-day to the big picture. So if you asked me, "What have you learned so far in Leg Reg?", I would have answered, "Well, there was this case in which the police stopped a mailman who was wanted for murder and didn't get convicted of obstructing the mail because that was absurd. And there was this case in which...." But I wouldn't have been able to articulate anything more than that.

After about a month or so, it became clear that there were topics, and these cases were specific examples and illustrations of principles within those topics, and I could string things together a bit. But it was really odd at first not having any idea what on earth I was learning.

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:44 pm

If I were being honest, my advice would be: get a prior student's outline, read that, and nothing else.

That's not very good advice, but it works for me. I don't like casebooks and outlines are better for the big picture anyway.

This is why I run an outline bank.

lawman84
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby lawman84 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:57 pm

I think the biggest adjustment for me early on (aside from learning how to pick out important details from a case) was learning that, unlike undergrad, there isn't a right and wrong answer. Instead, there's a lot of wrong answers and not really any right ones haha. Even when you give the professor what they're looking for, many will continue to press you to dig deeper. It's just difficult to recognize all the ambiguity when all our lives, we were basically taught to avoid ambiguity like the plague. It takes time.

Once you get used to the ambiguity, you realize that there are actually a lot of "right" answers and not that many wrong ones. It's all about how you craft your answer.

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sjgonzalez3
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby sjgonzalez3 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:56 am

Two pieces of advice come to mind for me:

(1) As others have alluded to, just recognize that you may frustratingly not be getting what you need out of your nightly reading, or if you do, it might be taking you an obscene amount of time to make your way through it in the detail you need. You can pound your head trying to figure out more effective reading/notes methods (as I tried), but honestly what made the difference was some strange form of osmosis where everything just starts to click around early October. So don't stress, embrace the early slog and just keep plugging.

(2) This is for later in the semester, but I cannot stress it enough. As finals start to approach, I would recommend "rushing" one class's outline or study prep so you can take a practice exam relatively early in the study period. Because either one of two things will come of it. You may find the time-restrictions are a struggle and don't leave enough time for you to answer properly, in which case you now have some time to work on this and talk to professors and know that you have to take a ton more practice tests. Or you find you're awesome at them by nature, as some people will find, and you end up not really needing to stress about the timing, and can focus more on studying the content (though the two go hand in hand to an extent--the better you know the material, the faster your pace will get).

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saltisgood
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby saltisgood » Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:42 pm

This is great; thanks guys! I'm coming from a point of like 75% escapist enthusiasm, where getting excited about going back to school is way better than interminable work projects.

despina wrote:There is a LOT of this advice throughout this thread. I know it can be a pain in the butt to search through, but I'd try going back through the thread and focusing on August-September of each year.


That's actually a great point. I've poked around, but not really paid attention to the time of advice. Part of what made me curious was all the advice-seekers who seemed to be comfortable with phrases/ideas I didn't really know, but a big part of that is likely that it was later in the year.

But I also appreciate all the fresh new perspectives delivered with no work on my part.

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:41 pm

saltisgood wrote:
despina wrote:There is a LOT of this advice throughout this thread. I know it can be a pain in the butt to search through, but I'd try going back through the thread and focusing on August-September of each year.


That's actually a great point. I've poked around, but not really paid attention to the time of advice. Part of what made me curious was all the advice-seekers who seemed to be comfortable with phrases/ideas I didn't really know, but a big part of that is likely that it was later in the year.

But I also appreciate all the fresh new perspectives delivered with no work on my part.

Every time a question comes up that I know has been answered, I try to answer it again anyway. This thread was started in 2010. The students who started it graduated two years ago. Re-reading the whole thread would be incredibly time consuming and some things have changed in the past five years anyway. I think the main reasons we don't create a new thread are (1) there is still a lot of good material in here that needn't be lost and (2) a lot of us have this post tagged in "your posts" and wouldn't see a new thread if there was one.

Don't be afraid of asking questions in this thread and don't feel like you need to re-read every page before you ask. This also applies to all the lurking 0Ls who I know are reading this thread.

despina
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby despina » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:33 pm

TripTrip wrote:
saltisgood wrote:
despina wrote:There is a LOT of this advice throughout this thread. I know it can be a pain in the butt to search through, but I'd try going back through the thread and focusing on August-September of each year.


That's actually a great point. I've poked around, but not really paid attention to the time of advice. Part of what made me curious was all the advice-seekers who seemed to be comfortable with phrases/ideas I didn't really know, but a big part of that is likely that it was later in the year.

But I also appreciate all the fresh new perspectives delivered with no work on my part.

Every time a question comes up that I know has been answered, I try to answer it again anyway. This thread was started in 2010. The students who started it graduated two years ago. Re-reading the whole thread would be incredibly time consuming and some things have changed in the past five years anyway. I think the main reasons we don't create a new thread are (1) there is still a lot of good material in here that needn't be lost and (2) a lot of us have this post tagged in "your posts" and wouldn't see a new thread if there was one.

Don't be afraid of asking questions in this thread and don't feel like you need to re-read every page before you ask. This also applies to all the lurking 0Ls who I know are reading this thread.


I absolutely agree, and I apologize if my post above came across as harsh or dismissive. I also do try to answer repeat questions over again when I have the time / energy (and as I did this time). I just wanted to make sure folks know that, although searching back can be a pain, you're likely to find even more really valuable information if you do take the time. And for questions that tend to recur seasonally ("what do my first semester 1L grades mean?" "when do law review results come out?" "do I really have to go to class during PSW?"), you're likely to find helpful answers from past years around the same month and don't have to read / search through the whole thread.

john777
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby john777 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:49 pm

I've heard that HLR orientation starts Monday, August 3rd. Does it run right up to classes or is it only a week or two?

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:19 pm

john777 wrote:I've heard that HLR orientation starts Monday, August 3rd. Does it run right up to classes or is it only a week or two?

Orientation doesn't run up to classes. It will stop for EIP, then after callbacks they'll start working you like a horse.




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