Questions about GW Law School

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vpdonahue
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Questions about GW Law School

Postby vpdonahue » Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:27 pm

I am strongly considering attending GW. Was accepted last week with a $106,000 total scholly. I am extremely excited.

I have a few questions that I hope a Current GW law student could answer for me.

While I am fully aware that all top law schools are very competitive, I wanted to know if GW is one of those schools with a lot of cut throat competition or is the environment mostly student friendly?

How extensive is the Socratic method used by GW professors?

I have a room reserved for me in Aston. Am I better off living on campus for my first year or is off-campus a better alternative in terms of safety,convenience and cost? What do most students choose?

Although I won't be graduating until 2014, when hopefully the economy and market for lawyers is significantly improved, how is the big law market for GW grads who graduate in the top 1/3 of their class??

Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my questions.

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mi-chan17
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby mi-chan17 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:36 pm

First off, congratulations! I'm currently a 1L, with (I believe, though I don't know the specifics) that same exact scholarship deal, so I'll do my best to answer your questions from my perspective.

While I am fully aware that all top law schools are very competitive, I wanted to know if GW is one of those schools with a lot of cut throat competition or is the environment mostly student friendly?

GW is really laid back, not cutthroat at all. Everyone I've met thus far has been really friendly and genuinely supportive. The people in my section have been super helpful, and volunteer to do things like get together for study groups or talk memo strategy or help prepare for mock trial. Even our gunners are more silly than anything else.

How extensive is the Socratic method used by GW professors?


This depends heavily on who the teacher is. I've had teachers that were straight-up socratic; they'd cold call someone and stick with them for the period. And then I've had teachers that did everything on a strictly volunteer basis (provided that someone was willing to raise his or her hand). Of course, I can't speak from personal experience on the method being used for the upper-division classes, but I'm under the impression that socratic is used much less in those classes.

I have a room reserved for me in Aston. Am I better off living on campus for my first year or is off-campus a better alternative in terms of safety,convenience and cost? What do most students choose?

This comes down to personal preference. I think in terms of safety and convenience, the Aston is great. Cost-wise, Foggy Bottom is kind of expensive, but that's true of most of the district. I live in the Aston now, and I'm glad that I chose to live here. I had the benefit of meeting more people before school started and I met more people outside my own section. There are plenty of reasons to live off-campus, though, so it depends on what you're looking for.

Although I won't be graduating until 2014, when hopefully the economy and market for lawyers is significantly improved, how is the big law market for GW grads who graduate in the top 1/3 of their class??

On this question, I think I will defer to a 2 or 3L who would know better than I do about how those classes have fared at OCI this year.

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Teoeo
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby Teoeo » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:38 pm

mi-chan17 wrote:First off, congratulations! I'm currently a 1L, with (I believe, though I don't know the specifics) that same exact scholarship deal, so I'll do my best to answer your questions from my perspective.

While I am fully aware that all top law schools are very competitive, I wanted to know if GW is one of those schools with a lot of cut throat competition or is the environment mostly student friendly?

GW is really laid back, not cutthroat at all. Everyone I've met thus far has been really friendly and genuinely supportive. The people in my section have been super helpful, and volunteer to do things like get together for study groups or talk memo strategy or help prepare for mock trial. Even our gunners are more silly than anything else.

How extensive is the Socratic method used by GW professors?


This depends heavily on who the teacher is. I've had teachers that were straight-up socratic; they'd cold call someone and stick with them for the period. And then I've had teachers that did everything on a strictly volunteer basis (provided that someone was willing to raise his or her hand). Of course, I can't speak from personal experience on the method being used for the upper-division classes, but I'm under the impression that socratic is used much less in those classes.

I have a room reserved for me in Aston. Am I better off living on campus for my first year or is off-campus a better alternative in terms of safety,convenience and cost? What do most students choose?

This comes down to personal preference. I think in terms of safety and convenience, the Aston is great. Cost-wise, Foggy Bottom is kind of expensive, but that's true of most of the district. I live in the Aston now, and I'm glad that I chose to live here. I had the benefit of meeting more people before school started and I met more people outside my own section. There are plenty of reasons to live off-campus, though, so it depends on what you're looking for.

Although I won't be graduating until 2014, when hopefully the economy and market for lawyers is significantly improved, how is the big law market for GW grads who graduate in the top 1/3 of their class??

On this question, I think I will defer to a 2 or 3L who would know better than I do about how those classes have fared at OCI this year.


+1 Mi-Chan knows what she's talking about.

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby FalafelWaffle » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:18 pm

bump? Michan and Teoeo, I know you guys are only 1Ls, but how is the summer job hunt? And how were exams at GW-is it really that impossibly difficult to do well?

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Paichka
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby Paichka » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:33 am

vpdonahue wrote:I am strongly considering attending GW. Was accepted last week with a $106,000 total scholly. I am extremely excited.

I have a few questions that I hope a Current GW law student could answer for me.

While I am fully aware that all top law schools are very competitive, I wanted to know if GW is one of those schools with a lot of cut throat competition or is the environment mostly student friendly?


Not at all. GW is incredibly friendly. Even the gunners are helpful. (Silly, and sometimes incredibly annoying, but helpful.)

How extensive is the Socratic method used by GW professors?


This varies by professor, even in upper level courses. My 1L year, we had two professors in my section who cold-called and were vicious about it -- most professors seem to use a modified on-deck system (either they go in alphabetical order, by row, or straight up tell you what case you'll be responsible for). As a 2L, the experience has varied somewhat. My family law professor uses a mix of cold-calling and asking for volunteers -- and she will go for people who haven't been saying much, while ignoring the raised hands of people who tend to talk a lot. My military law professor took volunteers (so the same two people tended to dominate the discussion...and one of them was me. Oops.).

My Crim Pro professor, Professor Butler, was the scary sort of socratic professor that law school movies warn you about. He would cold-call, ask a question, and even if the person said, "I have no idea," he'd reply, "Well, we'll wait." Cue 1-3 minutes of panicked flipping through the book. He'd also tell people who'd given wrong answers -- "No, that isn't even a little bit right." That being said, while the man (a former federal prosecutor) was scary as hell, he was also one of the best professors I've ever had.

The easiest way to figure out if your professor is going to be a cold-call maniac is to read the course reviews. On our portal, there's a link to previous exams (yay!) and course reviews -- that's invaluable when you're picking out upper-level courses, because you can see which professors have fantastic reputations (like, Butler) and which don't. You can also see which professors have closed book finals, which professors use a Socratic vs. an on-deck system (on-deck is the majority), and which professors are entertaining vs. boring as hell.

Although I won't be graduating until 2014, when hopefully the economy and market for lawyers is significantly improved, how is the big law market for GW grads who graduate in the top 1/3 of their class??


Well, I have no personal experience with this -- I'm in the FLEP program, so I'm already signed up to be an Army JAG after graduation. I can speak to my friends' experience (most of what follows is what I know from LR -- top 15%, generally). So far, all of my 2L friends have summer internships, and all of them are paid. One of my friends will be working at Covington (which is apparently awesome), one will be working at Kirkland (big litigation firm), one is working at a huge government contracts firm, and one is working at a smaller DC-based firm that specializes in class action suits (representing plaintiffs). As far as my 3L friends, MOST of them are clerking -- I don't know anyone doing a COA clerkship (unless our EIC is, but I think she's district court), but several will be working at district courts in Maryland, Virginia, SDNY, and at least one in Pennsylvania. We also have two people going Army JAG, and I THINK two going Navy.

I won't paint TOO rosy a picture for you -- I know a few people who really struggled to find work, but for the people at the top of the class, they didn't seem to have much trouble. My friend who's working at the plaintiff's firm only JUST got the job -- he had to send out a ton of resumes and do a lot of networking, but that seems pretty par for the course. So, the moral of the story is, get great grades and be willing to bust your butt networking, sending out resumes, and honing your interview skills. Too easy, right? :-p

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mi-chan17
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby mi-chan17 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:52 pm

FalafelWaffle wrote:bump? Michan and Teoeo, I know you guys are only 1Ls, but how is the summer job hunt? And how were exams at GW-is it really that impossibly difficult to do well?


My job-hunting experience is not quite over yet. However, that being said, I've had several interviews in the past month or so and should be hearing back from most of them within the next few weeks. The people I know in my class are slowly but surely all getting employed, and their jobs span the spectrum: judicial internships, DOJ, USAO, a few firms, non-profits, state government jobs, etc. The trick for 1L summer isn't really getting a job - you're free labor, so someone will eventually take you - it's getting a job that will give you the experience you want going forward.

In terms of exams: It is definitely not impossibly difficult to do well. I'm not going to post my own grades/GPA/etc. simply because people on here know who I am, but if you want to ask me about those things you're welcome to PM me. Even without posting those things, though, I can say I feel I did moderately well first semester.

Doing well on exams comes down knowing: a) what the teacher is looking for, b) how the professor structures the exam, and c) the substantive material. The best way to figure out a) and b)? Look at the professor's old exams. Do some problems from them. It's kind of like the LSAT in that way, but more writing-based. Some professors will even have a review session where you can bring in your practice answers and the teacher will go over how they want them done. The substantive piece is up to however you learn best. I'm one of the unusual people who takes notes by hand, but I do it because I learn better that way (and because I know if I stay online during class I'll end up on sporcle). I take both reading notes and class notes. I know some people who just read/highlight and don't take reading notes because it comes together for them better once we're in class, and that works for them. Some of my friends own a bunch of supplements, I've never purchased one. So that piece comes down to personal preference.

I just kind of rambled, so hopefully some of what I've said made sense and was helpful. :)

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Teoeo
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby Teoeo » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:02 pm

FalafelWaffle wrote:bump? Michan and Teoeo, I know you guys are only 1Ls, but how is the summer job hunt? And how were exams at GW-is it really that impossibly difficult to do well?


I got my job a while ago, but it was through legwork in CA, so I am not sure how helpful that is. The exams were pretty much what you would expect, I did pretty average so I probably wont give any advice other than to study hard (I am soooo lazy ^_^).

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby FalafelWaffle » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:27 pm

Teoeo wrote:
FalafelWaffle wrote:bump? Michan and Teoeo, I know you guys are only 1Ls, but how is the summer job hunt? And how were exams at GW-is it really that impossibly difficult to do well?


I got my job a while ago, but it was through legwork in CA, so I am not sure how helpful that is. The exams were pretty much what you would expect, I did pretty average so I probably wont give any advice other than to study hard (I am soooo lazy ^_^).


Thanks guys, all your posts were very helpful. Also, Teoeo, maybe I'm missing some law student acronym, but do you mean you got a job in California? That's cool-do you have ties to that region/how difficult was it/do you want to end up there? Sorry for all the questions, haha.

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Teoeo
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby Teoeo » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:31 am

FalafelWaffle wrote:
Teoeo wrote:
FalafelWaffle wrote:bump? Michan and Teoeo, I know you guys are only 1Ls, but how is the summer job hunt? And how were exams at GW-is it really that impossibly difficult to do well?


I got my job a while ago, but it was through legwork in CA, so I am not sure how helpful that is. The exams were pretty much what you would expect, I did pretty average so I probably wont give any advice other than to study hard (I am soooo lazy ^_^).


Thanks guys, all your posts were very helpful. Also, Teoeo, maybe I'm missing some law student acronym, but do you mean you got a job in California? That's cool-do you have ties to that region/how difficult was it/do you want to end up there? Sorry for all the questions, haha.


Ya I meant California. I do have ties to the region, but I didn't get the job through my ties per say. I just contacted a bunch of agencies (that didn't have any internship postings but I was interested in) and one of them bit.

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bender18
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby bender18 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:29 pm

tagging this

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby FalafelWaffle » Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:36 pm

Teoeo wrote:
FalafelWaffle wrote:
Teoeo wrote:
FalafelWaffle wrote:bump? Michan and Teoeo, I know you guys are only 1Ls, but how is the summer job hunt? And how were exams at GW-is it really that impossibly difficult to do well?


I got my job a while ago, but it was through legwork in CA, so I am not sure how helpful that is. The exams were pretty much what you would expect, I did pretty average so I probably wont give any advice other than to study hard (I am soooo lazy ^_^).


Thanks guys, all your posts were very helpful. Also, Teoeo, maybe I'm missing some law student acronym, but do you mean you got a job in California? That's cool-do you have ties to that region/how difficult was it/do you want to end up there? Sorry for all the questions, haha.


Ya I meant California. I do have ties to the region, but I didn't get the job through my ties per say. I just contacted a bunch of agencies (that didn't have any internship postings but I was interested in) and one of them bit.


Very nice. So you guys have yet to go through 2L OCI. Good luck and keep us posted!

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby FalafelWaffle » Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:09 pm

Do you guys/gals know anything about GW's Government Procurement program? It sounds fascinating, but I'm having trouble finding more info.

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androstan
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby androstan » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:25 am

tagged

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FalafelWaffle
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby FalafelWaffle » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:39 pm

For the top 25-maybe 33%, are ADA positions any tougher than big firm SA positions for the summer?

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ArthurDigbySellers
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby ArthurDigbySellers » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:16 am

not much action here huh

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mi-chan17
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby mi-chan17 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:40 pm

FalafelWaffle wrote:For the top 25-maybe 33%, are ADA positions any tougher than big firm SA positions for the summer?


For 1Ls or 2Ls?

Internships with the DA for 1Ls tend to be easier to get than firm jobs. If only because most firms aren't really taking 1Ls (unless that 1L is in IP or is diverse in some way). The only 1Ls I know that aren't diverse and aren't IP that have firm positions for the summer are top 15%. I know several people that are interning with DAs that are top 33% (or below).

2Ls I know much less about; d00d would be the better source there.

In either case, this will depend heavily on where the DA is located.

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ArthurDigbySellers
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby ArthurDigbySellers » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:01 pm

mi-chan17 wrote:
FalafelWaffle wrote:For the top 25-maybe 33%, are ADA positions any tougher than big firm SA positions for the summer?


For 1Ls or 2Ls?

Internships with the DA for 1Ls tend to be easier to get than firm jobs. If only because most firms aren't really taking 1Ls (unless that 1L is in IP or is diverse in some way). The only 1Ls I know that aren't diverse and aren't IP that have firm positions for the summer are top 15%. I know several people that are interning with DAs that are top 33% (or below).

2Ls I know much less about; d00d would be the better source there.

In either case, this will depend heavily on where the DA is located.


So you and people you know are...ok right? Not necessarily sweating bullets about 1L summer and more importantly OCI? Sorry, I had to ask...

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mi-chan17
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby mi-chan17 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:25 pm

ArthurDigbySellers wrote:So you and people you know are...ok right? Not necessarily sweating bullets about 1L summer and more importantly OCI? Sorry, I had to ask...


We aren't generally sweating bullets, no. Most of my friends have their summer gigs lined up, and a couple of us have fall lined up, too. I won't lie to you and say that EVERYONE is already employed, or that everyone got their first choice, but most of us have an actual legal internship and its something decent. My class has a couple SAs, a lot of DOJ/USAO/PI/DA/Judicial Intern kind of stuff.

As far as I can tell, in general most everyone has SOMETHING their 1L summer; we're free labor, so usually SOMEONE will bite. ;)

No need to apologize, I think it's a good question. :)

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ArthurDigbySellers
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby ArthurDigbySellers » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:28 pm

mi-chan17 wrote:
ArthurDigbySellers wrote:So you and people you know are...ok right? Not necessarily sweating bullets about 1L summer and more importantly OCI? Sorry, I had to ask...


We aren't generally sweating bullets, no. Most of my friends have their summer gigs lined up, and a couple of us have fall lined up, too. I won't lie to you and say that EVERYONE is already employed, or that everyone got their first choice, but most of us have an actual legal internship and its something decent. My class has a couple SAs, a lot of DOJ/USAO/PI/DA/Judicial Intern kind of stuff.

As far as I can tell, in general most everyone has SOMETHING their 1L summer; we're free labor, so usually SOMEONE will bite. ;)

No need to apologize, I think it's a good question. :)


Good to hear. It's really hard, GW and BU are both awesome schools with comparable prospects. Can't wait to visit so maybe I can swing one way or the other.

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Always Credited
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby Always Credited » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:27 pm

FalafelWaffle wrote:For the top 25-maybe 33%, are ADA positions any tougher than big firm SA positions for the summer?


LONG ANSWER:
Depends on a pretty even mix of variables such as:

Market where DA is located,
Your ties to that market,
Your interpersonal skills,
Your school,
Your grades (GENERALLY regarded as simply a pass/fail criteria - don't be bottom 1/3 at GWU, and you're just about in the clear),
Your desire to actually take a job as an ADA at that DA's office upon graduation,
How clearly that desire comes through in your application/interview.

Anecdotal help: as a 1L I was able to line up a choice of several DA positions for the summer with not top, but respectable grades. Two of those positions were given without interviews, one of those in a major market. The ones that asked for interviews didn't even look at my grades, and gave offers after the interview. I was even told at one office "you're the first genuine applicant we've had."

From what I gather, actual job offers for graduates have followed a similar pattern. So to answer those who have been saying in other threads that DA/PD positions are being flooded with the biglaw fallouts, yes, that's true. But that doesn't necessarily make getting those positions more difficult - the difficulty of getting such a position has a lot more to do with the individual applicant than all the OTHER applicants in the pool. An unbelievable amount of those candidates are immediately chucked, regardless of their credentials, for obvious reasons. No DA's office is going to hire someone that they think will suck up 1-2 years of training only to bolt at the first sign of a firm offer.

SHORT ANSWER:
If you're in the top 33-25% at GWU, aren't a social leper, and you truly want to be an ADA upon graduation, you will be very, very likely to secure an ADA position in DC, VA, MD, or your home market upon graduation.


Edit to note: the above info DOES NOT extend to AUSA/DoJ. That's a different beast.

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Teoeo
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby Teoeo » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:32 pm

I think AlwaysCredited's advice extends into PI in general. Public Interest/Service cares a lot about your commitment. I was offered a position in Cal/OSHA before my grades even came out.

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mi-chan17
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Re: Questions about GW Law School

Postby mi-chan17 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:26 pm

Teoeo wrote:I think AlwaysCredited's advice extends into PI in general. Public Interest/Service cares a lot about your commitment.


+1




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