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

Postby Single-Malt-Liquor » Sat Nov 28, 2015 5:52 pm

Is it possible to pass Streiker's Death Penalty class without having read the cases? I just looked at her exam from a couple of years ago and it doesnt look so good.

robotrick
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby robotrick » Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:54 am

Single-Malt-Liquor wrote:Is it possible to pass Streiker's Death Penalty class without having read the cases? I just looked at her exam from a couple of years ago and it doesnt look so good.

I'm in the same exact boat... There's at least one really thorough outline on dope that I'm hoping will get me through it :(

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

Postby Single-Malt-Liquor » Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:04 am

robotrick wrote:
Single-Malt-Liquor wrote:Is it possible to pass Streiker's Death Penalty class without having read the cases? I just looked at her exam from a couple of years ago and it doesnt look so good.

I'm in the same exact boat... There's at least one really thorough outline on dope that I'm hoping will get me through it :(


For the love of god which one?

I mean that identify the quotes thing is a nightmare.

robotrick
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby robotrick » Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:28 pm

Single-Malt-Liquor wrote:
robotrick wrote:
Single-Malt-Liquor wrote:Is it possible to pass Streiker's Death Penalty class without having read the cases? I just looked at her exam from a couple of years ago and it doesnt look so good.

I'm in the same exact boat... There's at least one really thorough outline on dope that I'm hoping will get me through it :(


For the love of god which one?

I mean that identify the quotes thing is a nightmare.

Indigo, I think. I printed it at the beginning of the semester, and it hit almost every point she made in class. It has a good number of quotes sprinkled throughout, though I don't know if it'll actually help with the quote ID portion of the exam.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:51 am

best way to look for gov/non profit 1L jobs outside of helios?

robotrick
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby robotrick » Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:12 am

Mack.Hambleton wrote:best way to look for gov/non profit 1L jobs outside of helios?

PSJD and reaching out to orgs/agencies you think you might like even if they're not in helios or wherever. OPIA might be able to give you some ideas too if you have areas of interest.

DreamShake94
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DreamShake94 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:09 pm

Anyone know when upperclassmen Fall grades are released?

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:04 pm

DreamShake94 wrote:Anyone know when upperclassmen Fall grades are released?

With 1L grades, I believe. There will be an email from the Registrar announcing the date in mid-January. See below.
tomwatts wrote:Probably a day between the 26th and the 29th [of January]. It's during the first week of Spring Term, anyway.

History:
Tuesday in 2014 (1/28/14)
Monday in 2013 (1/28/13)
Thursday in 2012 (1/26/12)
Thursday in 2011 (1/27/11)

And Tuesday in 2015 (1/27/15).
tomwatts wrote:Because I'm a nerd about these sorts of things Because I'm a nerd, I wondered a bit about the Registrar's email five days ago (on 1/15/15). It predicted a grade release "on or before Tuesday, January 27."

It turns out that the Registrar sent a similar email last year, dated 1/17/14, predicting a grade release on 1/28/14, and grades were in fact released on 1/28/14. An email confirming that they would be released on 1/28/14 was sent on 1/27/14.

The year before, the Registrar sent an email on 1/3/13 predicting a grade release in "late January." grades were released on 1/28/13 and announced only after the fact (i.e., the Registrar sent an email saying that grades were posted).

The previous year, the Registrar did not send such an email, presumably because HELIOS was brand new and they were still adjusting to its features. Grades were released on 1/26/12 and announced only after the fact.

What this history suggests to me is that fall grades are almost certainly going to come out on 1/27/15, and the Registrar will send an email on 1/26/15 confirming the release date and time. If I remember correctly, the time is always wrong; grades are always out a few hours before the announced time.

(In case anyone's curious, J Term grades came out on 2/18/12, 2/25/13, and 2/19/14.)

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby anon903817 » Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:27 pm

I have heard in the past that there is a minimum number of students in a class for the curve to apply. Does anyone know if this is true, and if so what the cutoff is?

I've also heard that the curve is "suggested" not required. So, to be clear, the curve is "suggested" for above a certain number of students, and not "suggested" below it?

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heythatslife
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby heythatslife » Sat Dec 05, 2015 9:22 pm

anon903817 wrote:I have heard in the past that there is a minimum number of students in a class for the curve to apply. Does anyone know if this is true, and if so what the cutoff is?

I believe it's 31 (or was it 30?) or more for the mandatory curve to apply. So seminars and small lectures are not subject to it.

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polareagle
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby polareagle » Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:32 am

heythatslife wrote:
anon903817 wrote:I have heard in the past that there is a minimum number of students in a class for the curve to apply. Does anyone know if this is true, and if so what the cutoff is?

I believe it's 31 (or was it 30?) or more for the mandatory curve to apply. So seminars and small lectures are not subject to it.


And to be clear, the "mandatory" curve is still not actually mandatory. Some professors in large classes are open about not adhering to it. See, e.g., Charn. This has been confirmed in the past: http://hlrecord.org/2012/01/the-unpublished-curve-explained/.

Blatant speculation, but I'd expect those with less power vis-a-vis the administration (e.g., Climenkos, visiting profs, assistant professors) to stick more closely to the curve. That being said, I doubt many professors go that far away from it.

Anecdotally, the registrar "reviews" the grades professors submit. I presume for curve compliance. Some professors probably couldn't care less about not complying, but many would probably stick to the curve to avoid the hassle.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:31 am

There is a bunch of relevant information in the OP.
The OP wrote:GRADES, HOW DO THEY WORK?
tomwatts wrote:...
The published grade distribution, according to Above the Law and corroborated by the Crimson, was:

In classes with over 30 JD and LLM students enrolled, the recommended distribution of grades is: 37 percent Honors; 55 percent Pass; and 8 percent Low Pass.... Up to two Dean’s Scholar Prizes per class may be awarded in recognition of outstanding work, provided there are more than 30 JD and LLM students in the course following drop/add.


This began during the 2009-10 school year....

In the second year (2010-11), under the new Dean Martha Minow, some stealth changes were introduced (at least, that's Above the Law's way of describing it). The grade distribution returned to being unpublished, although there's no reason to believe that it changed substantially, and, judging by informal conversations I've had with professors, it didn't, with the exceptions of DSs and LPs.

Specifically, according to the Crimson, profs were given "increased discretion over the number of Dean’s Scholar Prizes." No one knows exactly what that means, but guesses earlier in this thread have suggested in the vicinity of 3-5 for a class of 80. According to the HL Record, giving LPs also became discretionary (that is, a prof can give zero). And, judging by the "The curve is suggested in all classes with over 30 students" answer in that interview, the curve became a bit more flexible (that is, a prof can give 31 H's in a class of 80, which is over 38%, and no one cares).

roranoa
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby roranoa » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:15 am

Is the type of work you do at a law firm different from what you learn at school? That is, is there a different set of skills that you have to learn as you start work at a law firm or is the work more like incorporating the things you already attained through 3 yrs of law school education.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:48 am

roranoa wrote:Is the type of work you do at a law firm different from what you learn at school? That is, is there a different set of skills that you have to learn as you start work at a law firm or is the work more like incorporating the things you already attained through 3 yrs of law school education.

It depends on what you're doing. If you do transactional work, it's not much like law school at all, and not much of what you learned in law school — at least almost nothing of what you learned in 1L, and probably not much in the later years, either — is relevant. If you end up in an appellate group in a litigation department (this is unusual), then it's a lot like law school.

At some very high level of abstraction, all legal work is similar. You read a lot and write a fair amount, and you are supposed to think critically. But the specific skills vary quite a bit. Normal law school classes are mostly geared toward developing questions of law in litigation, and very few lawyers spend most of their time doing that. (Even litigators do a lot of their work on questions of fact, not questions of law.)

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:46 pm

Just to clarify on the grade stuff for stressed out 1Ls reading this thread: the standard curve is more strongly enforced in 1L classes than anywhere else. Your first year grades are much less dependent on the whims of professors than during 2L and 3L, visiting professor or not.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby roranoa » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:30 pm

tomwatts wrote:
roranoa wrote:Is the type of work you do at a law firm different from what you learn at school? That is, is there a different set of skills that you have to learn as you start work at a law firm or is the work more like incorporating the things you already attained through 3 yrs of law school education.

It depends on what you're doing. If you do transactional work, it's not much like law school at all, and not much of what you learned in law school — at least almost nothing of what you learned in 1L, and probably not much in the later years, either — is relevant. If you end up in an appellate group in a litigation department (this is unusual), then it's a lot like law school.

At some very high level of abstraction, all legal work is similar. You read a lot and write a fair amount, and you are supposed to think critically. But the specific skills vary quite a bit. Normal law school classes are mostly geared toward developing questions of law in litigation, and very few lawyers spend most of their time doing that. (Even litigators do a lot of their work on questions of fact, not questions of law.)


Thanks for the reply.

Then say, if you do corporate law at BigLaw, do you really just learn everything on the job? I can't imagine there being a separate training session at a law firm. Do senior associates just hand you work and tell you to do it and you have figure out how?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:52 pm

roranoa wrote:Then say, if you do corporate law at BigLaw, do you really just learn everything on the job? I can't imagine there being a separate training session at a law firm. Do senior associates just hand you work and tell you to do it and you have figure out how?

I think that it's fair to say that you're expected to learn a lot on the job in pretty much every job in pretty much every law firm, especially transactional jobs, and the amount and type of training varies widely.

But firms do hire people into corporate groups every year, and every year, the junior associates have no idea what they're doing. So enough instruction is given that the junior associates can do their jobs. Still, the learning curve is steep at first.

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

Postby Single-Malt-Liquor » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:59 pm

tomwatts wrote:
roranoa wrote:Then say, if you do corporate law at BigLaw, do you really just learn everything on the job? I can't imagine there being a separate training session at a law firm. Do senior associates just hand you work and tell you to do it and you have figure out how?

I think that it's fair to say that you're expected to learn a lot on the job in pretty much every job in pretty much every law firm, especially transactional jobs, and the amount and type of training varies widely.

But firms do hire people into corporate groups every year, and every year, the junior associates have no idea what they're doing. So enough instruction is given that the junior associates can do their jobs. Still, the learning curve is steep at first.


You will shall learn the job. Promise.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby roranoa » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:50 pm

Single-Malt-Liquor wrote:
tomwatts wrote:
roranoa wrote:Then say, if you do corporate law at BigLaw, do you really just learn everything on the job? I can't imagine there being a separate training session at a law firm. Do senior associates just hand you work and tell you to do it and you have figure out how?

I think that it's fair to say that you're expected to learn a lot on the job in pretty much every job in pretty much every law firm, especially transactional jobs, and the amount and type of training varies widely.

But firms do hire people into corporate groups every year, and every year, the junior associates have no idea what they're doing. So enough instruction is given that the junior associates can do their jobs. Still, the learning curve is steep at first.


You will shall learn the job. Promise.


I'm just worried because despite the fact that I have previous WE, I'm not very good at learning on the job. I'm good learning with textbooks but not on the job. I guess it'll be a struggle for me. :(

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:22 am

If you spend more time learning, you'll bill more hours and firm management will be happy. The client might not like it, but you'll probably never talk to them while you're learning anyway. The incentive system for law firms is a bit screwed up, but it works in your favor.

Also, law firms budget that you'll spend your first few years mostly learning. That's why they start out only billing you at $300-$400/hr and writing off many of those hours. Don't worry about it. You'll be fine.

If you want to practice learning on the job, join PLAP or another SPO.

roranoa
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby roranoa » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:16 am

TripTrip wrote:If you spend more time learning, you'll bill more hours and firm management will be happy. The client might not like it, but you'll probably never talk to them while you're learning anyway. The incentive system for law firms is a bit screwed up, but it works in your favor.

Also, law firms budget that you'll spend your first few years mostly learning. That's why they start out only billing you at $300-$400/hr and writing off many of those hours. Don't worry about it. You'll be fine.

If you want to practice learning on the job, join PLAP or another SPO.


What is PLAP and SPO?

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TripTrip
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:35 pm

roranoa wrote:
TripTrip wrote:If you spend more time learning, you'll bill more hours and firm management will be happy. The client might not like it, but you'll probably never talk to them while you're learning anyway. The incentive system for law firms is a bit screwed up, but it works in your favor.

Also, law firms budget that you'll spend your first few years mostly learning. That's why they start out only billing you at $300-$400/hr and writing off many of those hours. Don't worry about it. You'll be fine.

If you want to practice learning on the job, join PLAP or another SPO.


What is PLAP and SPO?

PLAP is the Prison Legal Assistance Program. SPO is Student Practice Organization. Here is the list of all of them: http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/clinical/student-practice-organizations-spos/

Since you're doing legal work that you don't learn in class for the SPOs, you're necessarily learning 'on the job.'

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romanesque
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby romanesque » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:36 pm

weird question - do we have to SIT in alphabetical order for 1L exams, or is it just separated that way for classrooms and then we can sit wherever?

hlsperson1111
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby hlsperson1111 » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:48 pm

i never had a law school exam with assigned seating, let alone alphabetical-order assigned seating

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leslieknope
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby leslieknope » Sat Dec 12, 2015 5:25 pm

If you live in Gropius, is there a place we can take 8 hour take homes other than our rooms? I kind of hate the thought of being in my room a combined 16 hours this week more than I hate the thought of actually taking the finals.




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