Sorry I've been MIA, but I have been getting slammed with work. Although I don't feel bad, since it looks like Arentlikefoxes is taking care of you guys! I'll weigh in on your questions, and a few things he said, just for fun.
JJDancer wrote:Foxes, thanks for the post! Is the write-on generally right after finals for 2 weeks?
Stupendous Man - you suggested waiting to buy supplements. I've been out of school for a little bit and would like to warm up my brain/browse LS material. I am not planning on doing anything crazy like reading all the ees and hornbooks and stuff. Are there any suggestions for which books I can buy before classes start that won't seem like a waste of money when I find out the reccomended reading etc?
Our write on is. Other schools do it differently. You'll get the 350+ page write on packet in your inbox by the time you leave your last final. Most people don't even think about it for a week, although I've heard this is bad strategy. Like Arentlikefoxes, I started work that monday, and didn't have the luxury of procrastination.
As for supplements... I wouldn't get the e&e right now unless you are a serious go-getter (I won't judge). You just won't get what you need to out of it. If you want to look at substantive law stuff, look at stuff that is short. As in wikipedia articles. But again, so much of what you need to know depends on your professor. You should actually ask your professor outright what supplements she/he recommends for the class early on, and they will usually tell you.
To answer your question though: Chirlstein for contracts; Chemerinsky for con law semester 2; e&e or Glannon Guide for civ pro are all universal.
Summer reading I do recommend for those that can't just enjoy their last few months of freedom unmolested:
- Getting to Maybe, or similar. I actually didn't get as much out of GTM as I did out of shorter books like, "8 tips to law school exams" or whatever it's called. GTM is definitely a huge resource though, I just started reading it during 1L, and the last thing you need is more reading. I feel like LEEWS or some law school prep class will offer the same.
- Law School Confidential. I think Planet Law School sounds similar. The goal with this kind of reading is to familiarize yourself with what you are about to get into, as well as just keep you excited for law school. A positive attitude goes a long way, and I liked getting a glimpse into law school before it started. I actually found Law School Confidential invaluable, as I didn't know any law students or lawyers and had no idea what it was all about.
Like Foxes said, just relax and do everything that you thought would be fun ever.
Arelikefoxes wrote:(1) How were the spring courses as compared to those in fall?
(2) What was the write-on like?
(3) Did you work harder in the second semester?
(4) Now that 1L is over, do you still feel good about choosing USC?
(5) Looking back, any advice on how to prepare during the 0L summer?
Foxes really gave great advice and I don't have much to add. But for the heck of it, here's my perspective:
(1) Spring courses were a lot less organized, a lot less hand-holding, and now that grades came out, a lot more random. I didn't do as great on classes I thought I knew pat, and I did well in classes where I was panicked until it was over. I think it's because the classes you think are easiest are also easy to everyone else. They may also make an effort to give you more coherent and organized professors the first semester, I don't know. I generally liked Fall subjects more (Torts and Contracts, even Civ Pro) and I wasn't very interested in Con Law or Legal Profession in the Spring. Like Foxes said, prepare for writing to get more intense, but be worth less units.
In my opinion, Spring semester was more stressful in some ways. I did goof off a lot more, saw more of LA and generally had a good time (and my grades didn't suffer at all). On the other hand, we knew how horrible finals were going to be and were dreading them. Plus if you did well, you all of a sudden had a lot of outside pressure to keep it up. Knowing I had to turn in my 2nd semester grades to my job definitely made me nervous as grades were coming up. If you did poorly, then there was a lot of pressure on you to ramp it up and redeem yourself. The problem is that no one really knows 100% what they did to do well/poorly the first time around, and it can be frustrating/disillusioning when it seems like grades are totally random. Avoid this by learning early on how to take your professor's tests, which is more important than learning the subject. (Also learn the subject, obviously)
(2) Awful. Actually the write-on made me realize I don't have a strong desire to do law review, and at this point I'm thinking I'd rather do Moot Court instead! That said, everyone I work with from USC was on Law Review, so it may actually matter to employers. But most employers I've talked to don't think it will make an enormous difference one way or the other. A lot of people ended up quitting the write-on. At USC, law review membership is based on a combination of grades and the write-on score (they don't tell you what percentages) so who knows how it will go. If you are interested, turn whatever you have in and just roll the dice. I think journal experience can be hugely rewarding, especially for certain jobs like clerkships, so what's 2 more weeks of misery in the scheme of things? Plus, in light of Foxes and my rare situations with work, I really don't think it's that bad if you legitimately use the 2 weeks. We basically did it in 3 or 4 days.
(3) Not at all. I worked significantly less. For most of the semester, I actually had a great time. I think I may have paid for it the two or three weeks leading up to finals though, when I tried to teach myself an entire semester's worth of material. Second semester can be easier in that you have seen what a law school exam looks like, and there are not really huge surprises. For me, although I still made sure I had a passing knowledge of everything the professor covered, I had a much deeper understanding of each professor's test format. To be candid, I did not read the casebooks at all. I do wish I had read some cases, or at least skimmed them, because my last few weeks were hellish, but to be honest, cases are not that essential the process, especially if you pay attention in class. I would not recommend this approach your first semester.
A lot of people burn out by the second semester, which is understandable, but if you can avoid it, do. Biggest mistake I think people made was cutting large swaths of classes. At some point I may post about what I think worked and what didn't work for me, but like Foxes said you guys will get ASIST tutors who will be very helpful, and although I'm happy with my grades, I didn't AMJUR every class or anything and I don't know that I have any authority on how to do well.
(4) Absolutely I do. I agree with Foxes: USC students seem to be more friendly and sociable, and that's our reputation from what I hear from my coworkers. I work alongside summer associates who go to much higher ranked schools, and I really don't feel like my work product is in any way inferior to theirs. Especially with USC's focus on writing, you are getting as good a preparation for work as there is.
If I had the option of transferring at this point, I wouldn't do it. If you get the grades to transfer up, then you will do just fine from USC. The one caveat would be if you want to clerk for or be a supreme court justice, then USC doesn't have a great track record and you may want to take the leap. I love my classmates with a passion, I love the school, and I'm really happy with where it's gotten me. A big part of me actually can't wait to go back! (although to be fair I'm returning as a 2L...)
(5) You don't need to do anything. But here's my honest, gunner-friendly, as complete as possible list, based on what I did and what I wish I did (in no particular order):
1. Read a book like Law School Confidential.
2. If you have time, read a book like Getting to Maybe.
3. Get in relative shape. Your shape/health will
deteriorate and it's way better to start out at the top. This includes taking care of all your medical needs, filling prescriptions, etc.
4. Stuff: Don't buy a million things for law school, especially if you're moving. Wait on supplements, highlighters, interview folders, etc. until you have established residence and are sure you will need these things. But buy basic school supplies and application supplies (resume paper, envelopes, stamps) before school starts. Do make sure you come to law school with a reliable computer that you know how to use. If you can, come to school with a reliable car you know how to use. You don't need a wardrobe of business attire, but if you don't have an interview suit you should get one or two. (If men out there need fashion advice, I spent an embarrassing amount of time learning about work-appropriate suits)
5. Life: Get your life in order immediately. Start a file if you don't have one with your medical records, insurance papers (car/health/etc.), SS card, Birth Certificate, etc. etc. Get a passport if you don't have one.
6. Money: Get yourself some credit while you still have a job, or while your parents can get you a card with a limit above $100. Open a bank account with a bank that is close to where you live or school. Make a budget.
7. Relationships: Stabilize your relationship status, whichever way that one swings for you. The last thing you need is a volatile relationship. Go out with friends and family, because you won't see them much for a year.
8. Move in early and meet people through TLS or Facebook before orientation. Not a huge consideration, but it was nice knowing some people while everyone else was awkwardly ambling around during those first few days of orientation, and it was great knowing people outside of my section. You'll quickly make friends in your sections though.
9. Update your resume, because a lot of you will be applying to externships in December with no time to prepare your applications in November.
10. Relax and have as much fun as possible. Store your fond summer memories like precious acorns for the harsh winter of stress and highlighters that will fall upon you soon enough.
Other things to remember but you will get emails as they become relevant: Bid on parking early. The closest lots (in rough order of closeness) are PS1 or PSX and PS2. Set up a payment plan if that's what you're doing, but make sure your tuition is provided for and ready to go. Go to as many of the optional social events you can, because this is a great chance to meet classmates that you may not share classes with.
Ok, now that this post is probably the longest in history, and I have to get up for work in a few hours, I'm going to leave it at that. As always feel free to PM me with whatever, and I hope you all enjoy your summers!