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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Dcc617

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Dcc617 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:42 pm

Veil of Ignorance wrote:Specifically in Chicago with no ties (or very weak ties- my cousin lives there).

Could I "create" ties by getting a 1L summer job in Chicago?


I did well in Chicago with minimal ties (lived there for a few months before law school and my college roommate is from there). Just have a good answer to Why Chicago.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Pneumonia » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:55 pm

Veil of Ignorance wrote:Hey how hard is it to land a market-paying 2L position, preferably not in NYC? I've been assuming that I could count on biglaw litigation to get me through my loans quickly, but maybe that's presumptuous? I was just reading a 1L SA guide and it seems incredibly competitive.

If you bid correctly, summer positions are very easy to land. Here are a few caveats:
--NYC is the easiest, so if you self-exclude from that market you're missing out on the easiest SA positions.
--Market-paying transactional jobs are easier to get than market-paying litigation positions.
--Some markets are extremely tough even with good grades (Denver, Austin, Seattle, etc.).
--If you have more than one LP, all bets are off.

If what you want is "any non-NYC big law job," then you don't have much to worry about. The more specific you get, the tougher it will be. For example, people strike out of Denver/Austin (mostly due to insularity) and DC (mostly due to grades) every year.

1L SAs are very tough to get no matter what. 2L SAs are a totally different--and much easier--ballgame.

ETA -- You should be fine for Chicago. Try to get a 1L summer job there (any summer job), and as dcc said, start planning your "why Chicago" answers early.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:54 am

Pneumonia wrote:
Veil of Ignorance wrote:Hey how hard is it to land a market-paying 2L position, preferably not in NYC? I've been assuming that I could count on biglaw litigation to get me through my loans quickly, but maybe that's presumptuous? I was just reading a 1L SA guide and it seems incredibly competitive.

If you bid correctly, summer positions are very easy to land. Here are a few caveats:
--NYC is the easiest, so if you self-exclude from that market you're missing out on the easiest SA positions.
--Market-paying transactional jobs are easier to get than market-paying litigation positions.
--Some markets are extremely tough even with good grades (Denver, Austin, Seattle, etc.).
--If you have more than one LP, all bets are off.

If what you want is "any non-NYC big law job," then you don't have much to worry about. The more specific you get, the tougher it will be. For example, people strike out of Denver/Austin (mostly due to insularity) and DC (mostly due to grades) every year.

1L SAs are very tough to get no matter what. 2L SAs are a totally different--and much easier--ballgame.

ETA -- You should be fine for Chicago. Try to get a 1L summer job there (any summer job), and as dcc said, start planning your "why Chicago" answers early.

Got it, thanks. I'm 100% litigation, but is it really that much harder?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:31 am

Veil of Ignorance wrote: Got it, thanks. I'm 100% litigation, but is it really that much harder?


You shouldn't have any problems landing a market-paying litigation job in Chicago.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:29 am

Dcc617 wrote:
Veil of Ignorance wrote:Specifically in Chicago with no ties (or very weak ties- my cousin lives there).

Could I "create" ties by getting a 1L summer job in Chicago?


I did well in Chicago with minimal ties (lived there for a few months before law school and my college roommate is from there). Just have a good answer to Why Chicago.

Hey Dcc617 I have a question for you. You tend to be pretty pro "take the money and run" in most "choosing" threads. Like, for instance Butler at Columbia vs Harvard. But if somebody wanted to land at a place like Susman Godfrey or some other litigation boutique that required COA clerkship, wouldn't having gone to HLS help quite a bit? Just curious honestly.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Dcc617 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:27 pm

Veil of Ignorance wrote:
Dcc617 wrote:
Veil of Ignorance wrote:Specifically in Chicago with no ties (or very weak ties- my cousin lives there).

Could I "create" ties by getting a 1L summer job in Chicago?


I did well in Chicago with minimal ties (lived there for a few months before law school and my college roommate is from there). Just have a good answer to Why Chicago.

Hey Dcc617 I have a question for you. You tend to be pretty pro "take the money and run" in most "choosing" threads. Like, for instance Butler at Columbia vs Harvard. But if somebody wanted to land at a place like Susman Godfrey or some other litigation boutique that required COA clerkship, wouldn't having gone to HLS help quite a bit? Just curious honestly.


I’m not the person to ask about lit boutiques, but it seems like it may have more to do with clerking numbers than anything else. So the way I would look at it is, “Is the marginal increase in the likelihood of outcomes like a COA clerkship worth $150K to $300K?” For a prospective law student I don’t see how it could be compared to a school like Columbia or Chicago.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby khaosan17 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:54 am

Are DSs (Dean’s Scholar) basically treated like A+?

Is there much competition to get DS’s and H’s within the section?

I thought the purpose of HLS’s hybrid pass/fail grading system was to alleviate the pressure for grades.. but it’s basically the same as the alphabetical grading system, but they just call it different (DS for A+, H for A, etc).. right?

I had the impression that HLS’s grading system was trying to go the way of YLS or SLS but it seems no different than that of Columbia or any other law school.. *sad*

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:35 am

khaosan17 wrote:Are DSs (Dean’s Scholar) basically treated like A+?

Is there much competition to get DS’s and H’s within the section?

I thought the purpose of HLS’s hybrid pass/fail grading system was to alleviate the pressure for grades.. but it’s basically the same as the alphabetical grading system, but they just call it different (DS for A+, H for A, etc).. right?

I had the impression that HLS’s grading system was trying to go the way of YLS or SLS but it seems no different than that of Columbia or any other law school.. *sad*

Yes, there is plenty of competition. Not everyone participates, but among those that do it is intense. Personal animosity is extremely rare though (at least in my experience). The background fact that everyone will get a job takes a lot of the stress away.

HLS's system does alleviate a lot of the pressure for grades. Not as much as Yale, obviously, but still significantly more than Columbia etc. It is not the same as an alphabetical system because there is no equivalent to A-, B+, or B- (somewhere in this thread there is a more thorough analysis). People gunning for great grades are usually aiming for feeder clerkships, Wachtell, a prestigious PI job, etc. So if you don't care about those things then there's very little pressure.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Dcc617 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:06 pm

khaosan17 wrote:Are DSs (Dean’s Scholar) basically treated like A+?

Is there much competition to get DS’s and H’s within the section?

I thought the purpose of HLS’s hybrid pass/fail grading system was to alleviate the pressure for grades.. but it’s basically the same as the alphabetical grading system, but they just call it different (DS for A+, H for A, etc).. right?

I had the impression that HLS’s grading system was trying to go the way of YLS or SLS but it seems no different than that of Columbia or any other law school.. *sad*


I mean, 3Hs on the year is median. Median at HLS (or a little below) can get you most jobs. I know people with things like 1H, 1LP who got 4-5 firm offers and ended up at V20 firms. Some people will stress because they’re inveterate strivers. Most people chill out after the first semester.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby agnes_bean » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:18 pm

A) DSs are basically like A+s, though my sense is they are handed out more frequently than A+s are at most schools. Friends at other schools say there tends to be 1-2 A+s per class. The number of DSs is discretionary, but I think there are frequently more than that in 1L and other black letter classes (I can think of at least one 1L class I had where I know for sure of 5, and heard rumors of one or two more. And for some upper level classes, I've seen 3+ DS exam answers for a single year on Dope alone, and that's not accounting for the many people who don't upload exams to Dope).

B) Agree with Pneumonia that the grading system really does take pressure off. Yes, it's not quite as much as Yale, but the fact that there are way more Hs than As at a school with a normal grading system, and the fact that everything under an H is the same (unless you get an LP, but those are rare) really does help alleviate things. Plus, as people above pointed out, unless you are striving for really unicorn results, there just isn't a need to get anything close to straight Hs or something like that. (And from talking to friends at Yale and Stanford... it's not like grades/exam performance/etc. don't matter to the super strivers. Just like at HLS, if you're aiming super high, than you still feel pressure to impress your professors. You still need those recs if you're gunning for a feeder clerkship).

C) Re: Competition. Depends on what you mean. Some people want those very good grades and they work hard. But while some sections may be openly competitive, but mine was definitely not. People were generally very generous with their time and resources, sharing outlines, tips, notes, supplements, etc. As someone who was friends with a lot of high achievers (ie. those people gunning for feeder clerkships, prestigious PI, etc.), part of the nice thing about the grades not being so granular is that we really never felt in competition with each other. It's not like we were fighting for the difference between an A, A-, or B+. It always felt like -- we can study together and push ourselves to do the very best we can and that way we can all get at least Hs.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby khaosan17 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:47 pm

agnes_bean wrote:A) DSs are basically like A+s, though my sense is they are handed out more frequently than A+s are at most schools. Friends at other schools say there tends to be 1-2 A+s per class. The number of DSs is discretionary, but I think there are frequently more than that in 1L and other black letter classes (I can think of at least one 1L class I had where I know for sure of 5, and heard rumors of one or two more. And for some upper level classes, I've seen 3+ DS exam answers for a single year on Dope alone, and that's not accounting for the many people who don't upload exams to Dope).

B) Agree with Pneumonia that the grading system really does take pressure off. Yes, it's not quite as much as Yale, but the fact that there are way more Hs than As at a school with a normal grading system, and the fact that everything under an H is the same (unless you get an LP, but those are rare) really does help alleviate things. Plus, as people above pointed out, unless you are striving for really unicorn results, there just isn't a need to get anything close to straight Hs or something like that. (And from talking to friends at Yale and Stanford... it's not like grades/exam performance/etc. don't matter to the super strivers. Just like at HLS, if you're aiming super high, than you still feel pressure to impress your professors. You still need those recs if you're gunning for a feeder clerkship).

C) Re: Competition. Depends on what you mean. Some people want those very good grades and they work hard. But while some sections may be openly competitive, but mine was definitely not. People were generally very generous with their time and resources, sharing outlines, tips, notes, supplements, etc. As someone who was friends with a lot of high achievers (ie. those people gunning for feeder clerkships, prestigious PI, etc.), part of the nice thing about the grades not being so granular is that we really never felt in competition with each other. It's not like we were fighting for the difference between an A, A-, or B+. It always felt like -- we can study together and push ourselves to do the very best we can and that way we can all get at least Hs.


Thank you, Pneumonia, and Dcc617 for your valuable insights.
It's really reassuring to hear that things aren't as bad as I initially thought!

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby throwaway089234 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:01 pm

khaosan17 wrote:
agnes_bean wrote:A) DSs are basically like A+s, though my sense is they are handed out more frequently than A+s are at most schools. Friends at other schools say there tends to be 1-2 A+s per class. The number of DSs is discretionary, but I think there are frequently more than that in 1L and other black letter classes (I can think of at least one 1L class I had where I know for sure of 5, and heard rumors of one or two more. And for some upper level classes, I've seen 3+ DS exam answers for a single year on Dope alone, and that's not accounting for the many people who don't upload exams to Dope).

B) Agree with Pneumonia that the grading system really does take pressure off. Yes, it's not quite as much as Yale, but the fact that there are way more Hs than As at a school with a normal grading system, and the fact that everything under an H is the same (unless you get an LP, but those are rare) really does help alleviate things. Plus, as people above pointed out, unless you are striving for really unicorn results, there just isn't a need to get anything close to straight Hs or something like that. (And from talking to friends at Yale and Stanford... it's not like grades/exam performance/etc. don't matter to the super strivers. Just like at HLS, if you're aiming super high, than you still feel pressure to impress your professors. You still need those recs if you're gunning for a feeder clerkship).

C) Re: Competition. Depends on what you mean. Some people want those very good grades and they work hard. But while some sections may be openly competitive, but mine was definitely not. People were generally very generous with their time and resources, sharing outlines, tips, notes, supplements, etc. As someone who was friends with a lot of high achievers (ie. those people gunning for feeder clerkships, prestigious PI, etc.), part of the nice thing about the grades not being so granular is that we really never felt in competition with each other. It's not like we were fighting for the difference between an A, A-, or B+. It always felt like -- we can study together and push ourselves to do the very best we can and that way we can all get at least Hs.


Thank you, Pneumonia, and Dcc617 for your valuable insights.
It's really reassuring to hear that things aren't as bad as I initially thought!


Faced the same questions when deciding whether to go to HLS or CCN with $$$. I have to respectfully disagree with Pneumonia and Dcc617. Before coming here, I got the same impression from this thread that LPs were extremely rare and awarded only if you didn't try, skip the question, etc. This year alone, I know of 3+ 1L classes that gave out multiple LPs (including LRW and a visiting professor).

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:34 am

throwaway089234 wrote: Faced the same questions when deciding whether to go to HLS or CCN with $$$. I have to respectfully disagree with Pneumonia and Dcc617. Before coming here, I got the same impression from this thread that LPs were extremely rare and awarded only if you didn't try, skip the question, etc. This year alone, I know of 3+ 1L classes that gave out multiple LPs (including LRW and a visiting professor).

Interesting. Just to be clear--you're saying that a single LRW Climenko gave out multiple LPs to the same section? Even one LP in LRW would be unusual (I would think), but multiple from the same Climenko is startling.

There were a few LP answers on HLS Dope. They were full answers, and it was clear the author was engaging with the exam question. So its possible to LP without skipping the question etc.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Lolstudent » Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:24 pm

Transfer student here. Would you recommend taking 12 or 15 credits? I don't want to be buried but I'm antsy to get some of these requirements out of the way.

Thank you!

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby khaosan17 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:55 pm

Dear 2Ls and 3Ls,

How wide would you say is the range in intellectual capacity within a section?

Are you bound to have 2~3 students in the section who just stand out and you know you can never outperform them?

Even at HLS, are you bound to see “smart” kids who are just in a league of their own?

Thanks.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:33 am

Lolstudent wrote:Transfer student here. Would you recommend taking 12 or 15 credits? I don't want to be buried but I'm antsy to get some of these requirements out of the way.

Thank you!

If 12/semester will fulfill your requirements, then I'd recommend that. Moot Court can take up a lot of time if you choose to do it, as can journals, social activities, and extracurriculars.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:41 am

khaosan17 wrote:Dear 2Ls and 3Ls,

How wide would you say is the range in intellectual capacity within a section?

Are you bound to have 2~3 students in the section who just stand out and you know you can never outperform them?

Even at HLS, are you bound to see “smart” kids who are just in a league of their own?

Thanks.

Everyone is smart. There will be plenty of people to fill the "studious," "social," and "bro," stereotypes, but all of them will be smart. "Intellectual capacity" sometimes overlaps with "ability to do well on a law-school exam," but not always. The best thing you can do is focus on your own studying, engage the material, and not worry about what others are doing.

I will say, though, that each section tends to have 2-3 people who THINK they are the smartest person in the section and who then become suspiciously quiet after Fall grades post. Don't be that person.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Splurgles23 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:43 pm

khaosan17 wrote:Dear 2Ls and 3Ls,

How wide would you say is the range in intellectual capacity within a section?

Are you bound to have 2~3 students in the section who just stand out and you know you can never outperform them?

Even at HLS, are you bound to see “smart” kids who are just in a league of their own?

Thanks.



The law is not like math, or physics (or even creative writing): being in a "league of their own" is a thing in terms of work ethic and perseverance. It's not a coincidence that some kids will have almost all H's and DS's and almost no P's, but it also won't be a matter of some intrinsic intellectual brilliance: it will be a combination of intelligence, work ethic, and access to resources. But yes, it's true that some kids will outpace the others in their overall combination of this package.

The other thing I will say (as a transfer to HLS) is that it's true that, unlike my other school (a lower T-14), *no one* at HLS is not smart (ie, someone who just worked hard to get to law school).

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby hlsperson1111 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:11 pm

My impression was that the vast majority of people are smart to one degree or another. There are a few people who have a savant-like aptitude for law and were intrinsically brilliant (and many of these people end up at the top of the class), and there are a few people who I frankly did not think were very intelligent. But most people are smart and work ethic definitely gets more people to the top of the class than inherent brilliance; in fact, virtually all the people I know who graduated magna (and most of those who graduated cum laude) are very hard workers.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby keceke » Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:31 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
khaosan17 wrote:Dear 2Ls and 3Ls,

How wide would you say is the range in intellectual capacity within a section?

Are you bound to have 2~3 students in the section who just stand out and you know you can never outperform them?

Even at HLS, are you bound to see “smart” kids who are just in a league of their own?

Thanks.

Everyone is smart. There will be plenty of people to fill the "studious," "social," and "bro," stereotypes, but all of them will be smart. "Intellectual capacity" sometimes overlaps with "ability to do well on a law-school exam," but not always. The best thing you can do is focus on your own studying, engage the material, and not worry about what others are doing.

I will say, though, that each section tends to have 2-3 people who THINK they are the smartest person in the section and who then become suspiciously quiet after Fall grades post. Don't be that person.


Yes. Don't let these types of people shake your confidence. On the flip-side, I've found that a lot of future top students suffer from imposter syndrome in the first semester.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby hlstroll1 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:21 pm

I've heard a lot of rumors over the semesters about the power of visiting Profs. Namely, what grades they are allowed to (/tend to) give out. Is there any conventional wisdom of how grade distributions differ for visiting profs? Can they give out the LPs/DSs that the normal faculty can? Asking for pure curiosity.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:26 pm

hlstroll1 wrote:I've heard a lot of rumors over the semesters about the power of visiting Profs. Namely, what grades they are allowed to (/tend to) give out. Is there any conventional wisdom of how grade distributions differ for visiting profs? Can they give out the LPs/DSs that the normal faculty can? Asking for pure curiosity.

Yes, they can.

As to whether there is a measurable difference between the grades visiting professors and tenured professors assign, anything you've heard is almost certainly speculation. I can think of causal explanations that would drive differences (e.g. a stronger desire to conform to administrative guidelines), but I've never heard of any proof that it results in some systematic variance.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:40 pm

I have a question regarding financial aid during the 3L year. I've read on the HLS website that HLS expects you do contribute 90% of the post-tax income from the 2L SA job, minus a summer living stipend. So let's say 20k. Does this mean that the amount of financial aid that you can request goes down by 20k? So, if the total COA during my 3L year is 100k (Jesus Christ...), will the maximum loan amount I can request be 80k?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Pneumonia » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:44 pm

Veil of Ignorance wrote:I have a question regarding financial aid during the 3L year. I've read on the HLS website that HLS expects you do contribute 90% of the post-tax income from the 2L SA job, minus a summer living stipend. So let's say 20k. Does this mean that the amount of financial aid that you can request goes down by 20k? So, if the total COA during my 3L year is 100k (Jesus Christ...), will the maximum loan amount I can request be 80k?


No, you can still get the full CoA in loans. So under your hypo you can still request and receive the 100k, but the last 20k of it won't be eligible for LIPP.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby TripTrip » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:26 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
Veil of Ignorance wrote:I have a question regarding financial aid during the 3L year. I've read on the HLS website that HLS expects you do contribute 90% of the post-tax income from the 2L SA job, minus a summer living stipend. So let's say 20k. Does this mean that the amount of financial aid that you can request goes down by 20k? So, if the total COA during my 3L year is 100k (Jesus Christ...), will the maximum loan amount I can request be 80k?


No, you can still get the full CoA in loans. So under your hypo you can still request and receive the 100k, but the last 20k of it won't be eligible for LIPP.

Worth noting that if you were receiving non-loan financial aid, that's the amount you can expect to be impacted by the 20K contribution. i.e., your need-based grants will decrease.



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