USC 1L Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:46 am

Incidentally, where are you working this summer, Stupendous Man? I'm trying to figure out who else from our class is hanging out downtown this summer...

melissakay
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:40 am

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby melissakay » Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:46 am

Hey! I know you touched on housing a little, but I could really use some advice.
I'm a USC grad, going to USC Law, planning on living with 1, maybe 2, non-law student friends.

How important is it to live close to the school as a 1L? I hate traffic & commuting, but I also love the idea of getting away & living in more of a neighborhood (aka not Downtown & NOT at USC, where I just lived for 4 years).

We are thinking the Wilshire, Grove, Larchmont areas. Any advice on this or any other apartment hunting advice? My other choices are Downtown, Little Tokyo, Koreatown. Budget is tight.

Thank you SO much, fellow Trojan! :)

Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:09 am

Well, as you might imagine, there are some downsides to living away from campus (traffic, getting up earlier/home later, not being as connected to the LS social scene, etc.) However, as a 1.5+ hour commuter myself (I live in Irvine), I can tell you that there are also a lot of benefits for living away from campus -- I found that it can help you avoid getting swept up in the stress of 1l and remember to have fun outside ls. Many people, esp. Second and third years, live in the areas you mentioned. So long as you still stay focused, I also think you will not be disadvantaged grade-wise.
Last edited by Arelikefoxes on Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sushirob39
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:18 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby sushirob39 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:19 pm

How was orientation week? Did you find it useful or just tedious?

Did a lot of your classes have assigned reading due already on the first day?

I know this depends on the professor, but generally speaking, did professors use the socratic method more often or less often than you expected?

Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:34 pm

sushirob39 wrote:How was orientation week? Did you find it useful or just tedious?

Did a lot of your classes have assigned reading due already on the first day?

I know this depends on the professor, but generally speaking, did professors use the socratic method more often or less often than you expected?


Orientation was a lot of fun. Some of the presentations can be a bit dry, but it is a great opportunity to meet fellow classmates in an unstressful context and learn the admin stuff for the school year.

I think most of my professors had assigned reading for the first class. Otherwise, day one would be kind of a waste of time.

Generally, there is less use of socratic method than I would have thought. That said, as I mentioned before, professors will be more likely to use socratic method in first semester, so be prepared for that. However, socratic method should not be a stressful thing- just take you best shot, and at worst, you will suffer an awkward silence from your professor if you didn't read or made it up.

User avatar
Stupendous_Man
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:05 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Stupendous_Man » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:54 am

Arelikefoxes wrote:Incidentally, where are you working this summer, Stupendous Man? I'm trying to figure out who else from our class is hanging out downtown this summer...


I'm downtown! I'd be more than happy to tell you (and anyone interested) all about my job in person, but my firm could probably identify me pretty easily and I'd like to remain as anonymous as possible (probably failing).

sushirob39 wrote:How was orientation week? Did you find it useful or just tedious?

Did a lot of your classes have assigned reading due already on the first day?

I know this depends on the professor, but generally speaking, did professors use the socratic method more often or less often than you expected?


Orientation was great. Some of the presentations were tedious, but I think your excitement over finally starting something that will completely change your life will carry you through. It is incredibly valuable though. You start making friends and acclimating socially, and just getting a feel for the school. It really is an exciting time, I'm jealous that you guys get to do it for the first time! I'll be there though!

melissakay wrote:Hey! I know you touched on housing a little, but I could really use some advice.
I'm a USC grad, going to USC Law, planning on living with 1, maybe 2, non-law student friends.

How important is it to live close to the school as a 1L? I hate traffic & commuting, but I also love the idea of getting away & living in more of a neighborhood (aka not Downtown & NOT at USC, where I just lived for 4 years).

We are thinking the Wilshire, Grove, Larchmont areas. Any advice on this or any other apartment hunting advice? My other choices are Downtown, Little Tokyo, Koreatown. Budget is tight.

Thank you SO much, fellow Trojan! :)


I lived VERY close. It was a 5 minute drive with no traffic, so 10-15 minutes in the mornings. I found this invaluable my first semester, but I'm unusually averse to driving in traffic. I liked being able to go home if I forgot something, or roll out of bed and into the classroom after a bar review. I also like to wake up early and get a lot done before class, which I will definitely miss next year when I move out further West. The areas you mentioned all make a lot of sense, and many students live there.

Downtown and those areas are really expensive for what you get, you're paying for the convenience. The way I rationalized it was, you go to school every single day. You can always drive to the beach or wherever on weekends (if you have time). It was also really convenient socially, because a lot of people live downtown their first year.

aliasdancer
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:59 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby aliasdancer » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:38 pm

Are grades at USC based solely on final grades, or is there a class participation component as well?

Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:03 pm

aliasdancer wrote:Are grades at USC based solely on final grades, or is there a class participation component as well?


Most 1l classes (other than lrw) will be essentially based exclusively on the final. A few classes may base up to ten percent of your grade on participation, but it is unclear if that is actually monitored (particularly in substantive classes.) I imagine that a few people might get a .1 bump if they regularlly contribute in meaningful ways to the class discussion, but even that is speculative.

User avatar
iknownothing
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:02 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby iknownothing » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:42 am

I'm aware that there are threads about this elsewhere, but I wanted to know spc to USC, what computers are most used? Or most lauded among your classmates? What would you recommend? Anything one should keep in mind in terms of law school software compatibility, etc?

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby JJDancer » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:28 pm

Following up on the computer question, I may be able to get a 4-5 year old but totally well-functioning MBP from a friend (instead of buying a new one.) Is there any reason this would be an issue/I should opt for something else?

Would having a somewhat older computer matter for exam software compatibility etc? Thanks!

Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:37 pm

iknownothing wrote:I'm aware that there are threads about this elsewhere, but I wanted to know spc to USC, what computers are most used? Or most lauded among your classmates? What would you recommend? Anything one should keep in mind in terms of law school software compatibility, etc?


JJDancer wrote:Following up on the computer question, I may be able to get a 4-5 year old but totally well-functioning MBP from a friend (instead of buying a new one.) Is there any reason this would be an issue/I should opt for something else?


USC uses Softest for final exams, which just this last year became compatible with macs without using basecamp / other PC emulation software, so anything is fair game (the only other software people need for LS is MS Office or something similar for note-taking.)

I knew people in our class who used all sorts of laptops - Dell, HP, Lenovo, Apple, various netbooks, etc. In general, the best traits of a LS laptop are (1) reliability, (2) good battery life and (3) a good keyboard for taking notes. Portability is also nice, given that you will be carrying around tons of books, but you will be spending a lot of time staring at the screen, so I think going too small can be inconvenient.

That said, I would say that around 50% of our class have macs. I am not sure if that is more because of "image" than substance, though, as its the "cool" thing to get when you are in college. They are nice, but they are by no means flawless -- I know people with macs who had problems just like everyone else over the course of the year.

I have a mac myself, and for the most part, I have been really happy with it. I really enjoy the battery life and how reliable it has been, but as a weird design quirk, the front edge of MBPs can be painful if you type with your wrists resting on the computer (as I do.)

The only type of computer I would recommend against is any netbook. For some reason, the students who owned netbooks had a lot of problems with reliability and handling the exam software. That said, you don't need a high-powered machine for Law School either. Just do your research, and go with the computer that make sense for your budget / use.

JJDancer wrote:Would having a somewhat older computer matter for exam software compatibility etc? Thanks!


I don't think any MBP will have compatibility issues, regardless of age. However, with any older laptops, you tend to run into greater problems with reliability, battery life, etc. I would tend to say if you are on a budget, try to find a decently-priced (read: not Apple) new laptop rather than go with a used one.

User avatar
iknownothing
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:02 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby iknownothing » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:34 am

Thanks, Arelikefoxes!!

As for a more general question, is there anything you wish you had done, or would advise doing in the final month or so before law school?
Any items we should pack/buy that wouldn't be obvious?

Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:28 pm

iknownothing wrote:As for a more general question, is there anything you wish you had done, or would advise doing in the final month or so before law school?
Any items we should pack/buy that wouldn't be obvious?


As I said before, I would advise that you take it easy the last month before school. Go on a trip, see friends, etc. If you are going to do anything law-related, peruse books like Getting to Maybe, or Law School Confidential to familiarize yourself with the law school world. Get your resume in order now (as well as a template cover letter for firms, government, externships, etc.), so that you will be ready when the hiring season starts (otherwise it will otherwise creep up on you.) But make sure you are well-rested, and energized at the beginning of the semester.

In terms of purchasing, I add anything that jumps out at me outside the usual stuff, but for now, two things:

(1) Definitely get a cheap locker shelf from Staples/Office Max for your locker. You will have a ton of books, and will be likely using your locker a lot. Some people's lockers got really out of control without the extra space.

(2) Think about getting a computer case. You will be using your laptop a lot, so you'll want to make sure you take good care of it.

User avatar
Horchata
Posts: 163
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:09 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Horchata » Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:46 pm

Thanks for the responses Arelikefoxes!

User avatar
iknownothing
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:02 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby iknownothing » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:54 pm

Seriously, this thread has only confirmed the supportive USC environment. Thanks again for all of the great advice!! :D

I'll pay it forward next year, esp when I figure out how to change my sn...

Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:46 pm

iknownothing wrote:Seriously, this thread has only confirmed the supportive USC environment. Thanks again for all of the great advice!! :D

I'll pay it forward next year, esp when I figure out how to change my sn...


Haha our pleasure, and I am glad you all have found it useful. You'll see that USC really emphasizes transparency throughout the law school process (especially if you are willing to ask), and that ideal is passed on to the student body. Though I might be biased, we have a really nice and laid-back group of people here.

Next year, maybe you and I can just switch sns -- "The more I learn, the more I realize..." :wink:

User avatar
Stupendous_Man
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:05 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Stupendous_Man » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:09 am

Just something to add about grading: Exams are more subjectively graded than you might think, and diff professors have different grading structures. Ask them what they give points for. Professors also get a certain number of .1 adjustments to adjust grades. This is where participation may come in. Professors are free to use their adjustments however they like - they can stack them all on one outstanding/terrible student, spread them out etc. From what I've heard, most professors will use them to reward "edge" grades to students who did a great job in class but were on the border.

To be honest, I really think participation and that kind of stuff is just a bluff, unless you are a noticeable failure at participating. (even then, who knows how much it counts for) Participate to the extent it helps you, but don't feel like you HAVE to raise your hand and ask tangential questions just so the professor knows you're there.

Computers: Another vote for mac here. I LOVE macs, for many reasons we can get into another time. But something you may or may not want to consider if you are thinking about switching is that big firms (from my limited experience, and foxes can chime in here) seem to use exclusively PCs. It's been kind of a pain switching back and forth, for example, the Control button isn't in the same place, and I keep trying to expose all my windows, which it just won't do.

Stupendous Man's Stupendous list of stuff to have:
- A large, sturdy backpack.
- A dependable laptop
- A suit or two, dress shoes, socks/stockings, shirts, (ties)
- An interview folder (or you can get a cool USC law one through APALSA)
- highlighters/pens/pencils/staplers/binders/etc.etc.etc.
- envelopes (small and large) and stamps
- layered clothing. I always thought SoCal would be sunny 100% of the time, even at night. The law building is freezing.
- A water bottle and a lunchbox.

Arelikefoxes
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Arelikefoxes » Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:17 am

Stupendous_Man wrote:Computers: Another vote for mac here. I LOVE macs, for many reasons we can get into another time. But something you may or may not want to consider if you are thinking about switching is that big firms (from my limited experience, and foxes can chime in here) seem to use exclusively PCs. It's been kind of a pain switching back and forth, for example, the Control button isn't in the same place, and I keep trying to expose all my windows, which it just won't do.


Yeah, biglaw seems to be all PC, circa 2003. To be honest though, I don't mind switching back and forth -- I have a PC at home as well, and there are not any compatibility issues (other than keyboard shortcuts) that I have come across.


Stupendous_Man wrote:Stupendous Man's Stupendous list of stuff to have:


Awesome. "Arelikefoxes's Foxy list of things to have" doesn't seem to quite work as well.

User avatar
iknownothing
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:02 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby iknownothing » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:26 am

Arelikefoxes wrote:Next year, maybe you and I can just switch sns -- "The more I learn, the more I realize..." :wink:


Hahah, so many TLSers will be like, "What happened, Arelikefoxes?? You used to be so helpful and knowledgeable..."

And thanks for the tips, Stupendous Man! Of course, when you say lunchbox, I'm sure you mean something like this?:
Image

Will I get just as much respect in law school as I did in the second grade? :D

User avatar
Stupendous_Man
Posts: 103
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:05 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Stupendous_Man » Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:45 am

Actually, there is a guy in our class who has this:

Image

User avatar
iknownothing
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:02 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby iknownothing » Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:29 pm

Stupendous_Man wrote:Actually, there is a guy in our class who has this:

Image


It's you, isn't it... :lol:

ajauffret
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:44 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby ajauffret » Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:35 pm

A and D,

How do you two manage to do so well in law school while also spending so much time on top law schools . com ?

- anonymous

ajauffret
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:44 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby ajauffret » Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:41 pm

ajauffret wrote:A and D,

How do you two manage to do so well in law school while also spending so much time on top law schools . com ?

- anonymous


I spent a whole day at work trying to piece together the clues that would reveal your true identities!!! I should have been a PI.

JJDancer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby JJDancer » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:16 pm

JJDancer wrote:Following up on the computer question, I may be able to get a 4-5 year old but totally well-functioning MBP from a friend (instead of buying a new one.) Is there any reason this would be an issue/I should opt for something else?

Would having a somewhat older computer matter for exam software compatibility etc? Thanks!

Turns out the MacBook is running on version 10.4
and SoftTest is compatible only with 10.5 and 10.6 right now (leopard and snow leopard) -- it may be compatible with Lion soon.

Perhaps I can just use a different laptop for exams? Also considering getting a $550 Lenovo...

User avatar
Horchata
Posts: 163
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:09 pm

Re: USC 1L Taking Questions

Postby Horchata » Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:32 pm

JJDancer wrote:
JJDancer wrote:Following up on the computer question, I may be able to get a 4-5 year old but totally well-functioning MBP from a friend (instead of buying a new one.) Is there any reason this would be an issue/I should opt for something else?

Would having a somewhat older computer matter for exam software compatibility etc? Thanks!

Turns out the MacBook is running on version 10.4
and SoftTest is compatible only with 10.5 and 10.6 right now (leopard and snow leopard) -- it may be compatible with Lion soon.

Perhaps I can just use a different laptop for exams? Also considering getting a $550 Lenovo...


You might find this interesting: http://www.tuaw.com/2009/08/27/the-29-s ... s-as-well/




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests