Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

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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Stig
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Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby Stig » Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:16 am

Older thread (Sept 09 originally) here: Stanford 1L taking questions

I figured that a new thread might be helpful, since that other one is 16 pages and over the course of 2 years. I know there are a few other SLSers on here, but I'll try to answer questions often.

These questions were from a prospective student and I thought they might be of some use to those in their decision-making process.


How did you decide on Stanford.

It was a relatively easy choice for me. I decided based on two criteria. 1) a school where I would be happy and enjoy my 3 years. 2) a school that would most easily allow me to pursue whatever I ended up wanting to pursue.  

I visited ASWs/Admit Days for UChicago, UPenn, Duke, Michigan, Harvard (not ASW, but with a friend who was a 1L while visiting a friend at Harvard undergrad during spring break), Columbia, NYU, and Stanford (twice). It is hard to describe, but the students at SLS were simply much happier than those at other schools. They had more energy, were more excited about what they were doing, and were confident that they were going to be able to do whatever they wanted after graduation. I had the gut feeling of "this is where I need to be," and felt it was easy to connect with the students I met. My first visit was the week before the second quarter exams, and bar review was packed, and people did not seem crazy stressed for exams.

Full disclosure for the second criterion: I was waitlisted at YLS and HLS. So compared to the other schools (CCNMPDetc.), SLS had a big advantage. I looked at their data (there is a spreadsheet available to the SLS community that includes where all the 1Ls/2Ls/3Ls work), and it was outstanding. At that time I really was basing it by TLS standards, and it was pretty much top firms, top PI, top gov't honors programs, and top clerkships across the board. A student at the time told me that 1 or 2 people total in the fall did not have offers coming out of fall OCI. On the other hand, career people at other schools would not go into depth on their placement stats. Plenty of CLS students had V5 jobs, but it was unclear to me what happened to those not in the top half of the class. Lack of clarity to me meant that the outcomes were not what I would want. The SLS grading system makes a difference in this–those I spoke with at the time said even those with straight Ps had solid jobs lined up.

Essentially, I chose the school where I thought I would be most happy and have the best freedom to pursue what I want career-wise. Clearly this was SLS. After one quarter as a 1L, I think the career freedom absolutely feeds into the student happiness. The impact of the realization that you will be able to get a job you want even if you have less Hs than half of the class cannot be understated.

Did you have to choose between Harvard and Stanford?

Regarding SLS v HLS v YLS: I think the only thing you really need to assess is the happiness factor. You can do whatever you want coming from any of the schools, so you might as well go to the one you will enjoy for the next 3 years. Happiness means different things to different people, and only you can know what will make you happy (or unhappy) at these very distinct schools. People at SLS rubbed me the right way, and people at HLS rubbed me the wrong way, but I completely understand perhaps why other people feel the opposite after interacting with the same people. 

Tons of people decide specifically between SLS v HLS with plenty coming to SLS and plenty going to HLS. I'd talk to students at both who decided between the two, and they'll be quite helpful.

I am really worried about the egregious level of debt I will be in. Any thoughts on this?

I spoke with a bunch of people (career counselors, parents, friends, etc.), and they all were more supportive of attending another top 10 school on a named full ride instead of SLS. On the contrary, my professor/mentor (HLS alum) then basically told me, "You are going to be at this school for 3 years of your short life, and you are going to be connected to that school's network and resources for the rest of that short life. Money is simply money, and perhaps you stay at a firm job for an extra year to pay it off, but you will benefit from those friendships you make and connections you have for the rest of your life. Go wherever you want, don't make it about the money." His advice prompted me to think in a longer-term perspective.

I also talked to Dean Deal about it, and she was very helpful. She also essentially said, "Follow your gut. Go where you will be happy, and success will follow. You'll be able to pay off your loans with a SLS degree easily, so if you want to come here, I recommend you follow your gut and do so!"

So basically, I'll graduate with debt equivalent to a Ferrari 458 Italia (cars are the only way I can even start to put that amount of money in perspective). I know a ton of my classmates will be in a large amount of debt as well, but they are not that worried about it. The fact that a firm job with a Aston Martin V12 Vantage salary is available makes it much easier. Even if we have to take that job that perhaps we don't love, we won't be saddled with debt for the rest of our lives. Alternatively, I know SLS has an excellent LRAP program (Dean Deal's post on her blog about it is worth reading), so if you want to do PI, you'll be fine as well.

How have you adjusted to the quarter system (I am assuming you had a semester system in undergrad)?

The first quarter is really a semester. We started at the same time as I did in undergrad (3 weeks before 2/3Ls start), and ended at about the same time (Dec 16th). So far it has been fine, most people are excited about it. What it really means is that our Property and Con law classes are shorter (aka not as much depth), and we have an entire quarter to take whatever we want in the spring. I think this will be an advantage in helping decide what we all want to pursue, in that we will have taken 5 electives (including 1 in the winter) before we have to decide where we want to work during OCI. 

It is also awesome because we are in line with the rest of the university. Stanford is ranked in something like the top 5 in 18 graduate programs, and top 3 in 10 of those programs. The rest of the university has a ton of exciting opportunities, and I'm really looking forward to taking classes in other schools. SLS truly is interdisciplinary in that I will be able to take up to 10 classes outside the law school (some schools pay it lip service...Duke told me I could take a total of 2 classes outside the law school). Additionally, it means that the clinics are full-time, which is superb because you treat them like a job and don't have any other distractions during that quarter.

Ask me this question again when I am in class in May and June and I may respond otherwise...

Are you involved in student organizations this year?

I'm not sure about other law schools, but we can get involved in journals as 1Ls. Almost everyone does. I'm on the tech law review, and did blue-booking and editing last quarter. Next quarter I'll be on the board to help decide what articles we publish for next year (while doing more blue-booking and editing). I'm also on the exec board of the SLS Documentary Film Project, which is essentially a journal in the form of a documentary.

The first week of school I got involved in a joint program between the law school and the computer science department that works on legal technology (not to be confused on the law of technology, heh). I sat in on all the meetings for a project that has built an automated IP clearinghouse that saves students 25-80% on coursepacks and enables professors to more easily access new material for classes. I'll be doing projects for them next semester. Pretty much everyone gets involved in student orgs, there are a ton to choose from.

Do you live in Munger? How do you like your living accommodations?

Munger is ridiculous. I live in a 4 bedroom, and we have 4 and 1/2 bathrooms. We have 2 refrigerators for 4 people. I'll post some pics to give you a better idea. It is rather expensive, but is 2 minutes from the law school, and surrounded by palm trees (and next to the 4 story underground heated parking garage).

The best part of Munger is that it really builds the SLS community. 70% of 1Ls live there, and there are always parties/dinners/pre-bar-review-parties happening. My only complaint is that about half-way through the quarter I was desperate for a car to escape from the dreamworld for a bit. It is a wonderful bubble, but it is a bubble and sometimes you need to get out for a night to get a breath of fresh air from the world of law school.


Are you from California? I've never lived anywhere except Texas for longer than three months.

I'm from the midwest and lived in DC for 3 months and the UK for 3 months. At the beginning of the quarter, one of my professors said, "Once you see what living in California is like, you realize that you have been missing the good life." I’d say that is a fair assessment (but people are terrible at driving here, for no apparent reason).

I imagine Texas is pretty sunny all the time, so it won't be as exciting to you as it was for me, but having it sunny virtually every day helps keep me positive between reading/working/etc. Coming back to the midwest for break reminds me of how spoiled we are at SLS because the grey of the midwest is quite oppressive this time of the year. At SLS, after a long day of class in November, you can go outside into the bright sunshine in your light jacket and jeans, and go grab a pitcher of beer at the bar on campus and sit outside and relax with your friends. The fall comes in late November, and it goes from 75 every day to 60 every day. All the leaves turn beautiful colors (like in the midwest), and the air gets crisp. The smell is wonderful.

Another big thing about the geography is that SLS is in the middle of silicon valley. So far I've been to Tesla (5 min away) and Google (15 min away). Facebook/HP/eBay/Apple etc. are all within a 15-20 minute drive. The west border of campus houses all the top venture capital firms, and all the top firms have offices right around the corner from Stanford. It is really energizing, you feel as though you are surrounded by people who are changing the world.

How was your finals experience?

Really weird. SLS has 4 doctrinal classes (Torts, Contracts, Crim, Civ Pro) and legal research and writing. 18 credits total, where the normal max is 14 (with 9 being minimum). SLS has an ABA waiver to make us take so many classes. From what I understand, other law schools have 3 doctrinal classes + research/writing. The upperclassmen and administration essentially tell you that you can't do 100 percent in all the classes. Almost everyone believes this, but there are a handful of people who tried. Not sure if this paid off for them or not.

This means you really need to strategize in how you prepare for exams. Because top 1/3 get Hs and everyone else gets Ps, you could potentially split your time equally and only get a P in every class (and perhaps you are the top P in every class). You'd have the same grade as someone who prepared very very little (or not at all), but the same grade. So the idea is that you "punt" one or two classes, and max out in other classes, giving yourself the best chance at an H in those, knowing that you'll be at the bottom of the Ps in the punted class.

Everyone has done the reading for all their classes and has attended class, since we are 1Ls and work like crazy anyway. So even if you punt a class (Crim for me), you can still barely study at all, and be able to write a 15 page exam paper. It might not be pretty, and it won't be H-worthy, but it should get you a P. 

As I mentioned, I planned on punting crim, and trying legitimately for Torts/Contracts/CivPro. I made my own outline for Torts (first exam) and Contracts (third), but by the time I got to CivPro I really was wiped out and only had 36 hours to prepare. So I effectively punted CivPro as well. The CivPro exam actually felt great, but we will see to what that actually translates.

Overall, it was really weird not working for a class (or two). In undergrad I gave pretty much everything 100%, but here it more of a "work smarter" mentality. Looking back, it was a really liberating feeling. I was less stressed during exam week than I had been during the first week of school. I think pretty much every other SLS 1L will say that it sucked, but was not as bad as expected. One night we had a wine party in the library to take a break. Fun stuff. I can't imagine being at a school with real grades, I'm confident that I would have been freaking the heck out. I’m looking forward to getting my exams back not for the grades but for the comments, so I can start to figure out what I was actually doing right or wrong during this last quarter.

(There technically are low passes, but they say you have to write less than a page or show active contempt for the professor to not pass a class.)

Are you job hunting for summer? Are you PI? 

Definitely. I want to do tech-related stuff, so I sent in resume/cover letters to firms that have that type of practice in early December. My strategy was to make personal connections with SLS alumni at the firms. 1L firm hiring is often more informal, and I hope that my connecting with partners will have been time well spent. I learned a lot and had a great time connecting with them, so even if a job doesn't come up with them for this summer, I will still have some insight next fall for OCI and knowledge of the practice area. I have an interview at a firm in the valley after break, but we will see if it actually results in an offer.

I'm also in the midst of applying to tech places generally, so I suppose this is just the beginning of the application season. I have friends who have already interviewed at firms or for honors government programs. My friends who have had the interviews at firm have had them through diversity programs, which are more formal and early on the schedule. Honors gov’t programs also are on an early schedule. I'd say maybe 50 percent of people didn't apply for jobs before exams, but I'm not really sure!
Last edited by Stig on Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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cindypopper
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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby cindypopper » Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:38 pm

Thanks for the info, it was really helpful. I am between HLS and SLS. Any advice would help. Also how far is the drive from Fremont to Stanford, if I were to live in Fremont is that too far?

simpletimes
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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby simpletimes » Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:31 pm

Depends on where you are in Fremont. You'd probably be looking at somewhere between 20-30 minutes to get to SLS. Do you have a particular reason for living in Fremont? Otherwise, there are closer places that aren't on-campus housing.

The HLS v. SLS debate is one that a lot of people hash out. You won't go wrong with either school, and it depends entirely on who you want to be around and what kind of environment you want to be in. The opportunities will be pretty close to identical, but the environments are quite different - it depends entirely on what you are looking for.

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby thisguy456 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:29 pm

This is great--thanks for starting up a new thread and being willing to answer questions. I'll most likely be attending and will probably be asking lots of questions!

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby cindypopper » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:23 pm

simpletimes wrote:Depends on where you are in Fremont. You'd probably be looking at somewhere between 20-30 minutes to get to SLS. Do you have a particular reason for living in Fremont? Otherwise, there are closer places that aren't on-campus housing.

The HLS v. SLS debate is one that a lot of people hash out. You won't go wrong with either school, and it depends entirely on who you want to be around and what kind of environment you want to be in. The opportunities will be pretty close to identical, but the environments are quite different - it depends entirely on what you are looking for.


Thanks! My boyfriend will be working in the silicon valley area and he is looking at housing in Fremont because it is cheaper there for a nice place. Where do you suggest we look for housing me being at Stanford and him working in the valley. What are the best places and what neighborhoods should we stay away from. We have never been there before. I'm leaning towards Standord to be there with him instead of HLS.

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1212
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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby 1212 » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:38 pm

Thank you so much for doing this guys!! This is great!!

Any thoughts on the February OCI that is primarily for 1Ls? Is this how a lot of 1Ls secure summer employment?

http://www.law.stanford.edu/experience/ ... ents/#(oci)_on-campus_interviewing_program_

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby hdivschool » Sun Dec 25, 2011 5:17 pm

cindypopper wrote:Thanks for the info, it was really helpful. I am between HLS and SLS. Any advice would help. Also how far is the drive from Fremont to Stanford, if I were to live in Fremont is that too far?


I agree with simpletimes - the HLS v. SLS decision is a matter of taste. I spent a couple of years in Cambridge, so HLS was a relatively known commodity for me. One thing I wish I'd been more aware of is the difference between living in a city as opposed to living on 'the Farm.'

I have a friend who commutes from Cupertino and she hates it, especially on days when we have early morning 1L classes. I imagine this will be less of an issue once we have complete control over our schedules.

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby simpletimes » Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:38 pm

cindypopper wrote:Thanks! My boyfriend will be working in the silicon valley area and he is looking at housing in Fremont because it is cheaper there for a nice place. Where do you suggest we look for housing me being at Stanford and him working in the valley. What are the best places and what neighborhoods should we stay away from. We have never been there before. I'm leaning towards Standord to be there with him instead of HLS.


Menlo Park is do-able, but can be rather pricey. East Palo Alto is the opposite, do-able, but probably on the lower end side for the silicon valley. Mountain View, Cuppertino, and Redwood City are all reasonable options -- but a lot of this will come down to what you happen to find. If you start venturing out much further than that you will probably be looking at a 30ish minute commute, but all of this just depends on what you're willing to do. Stanford also offers couples housing in various on-campus places which you may want to look into, but most on campus housing is on the expensive side (it's usually nice though).

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby simpletimes » Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:52 pm

1212 wrote:Thank you so much for doing this guys!! This is great!!

Any thoughts on the February OCI that is primarily for 1Ls? Is this how a lot of 1Ls secure summer employment?

http://www.law.stanford.edu/experience/ ... ents/#(oci)_on-campus_interviewing_program_


i don't know much about that. the OCS and the levin center (public interest jobs) are very helpful though, and do a great job of getting students a chance to learn what's available.

as far as i can tell, the 1L job search varies widely by the person. i'd say most people are applying to a firm or two, but realistically they are looking more towards doing jobs they find interesting in places they want to be. a lot of people aim for jobs abroad for 1L summer, and it seems like the DOJ will ultimately be a destination for a lot of people. from what OCS has said, ~20-25% of the class will end up with a 1L SA position (though i imagine that only about half are even looking at them seriously).

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby Stig » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:19 pm

Another couple questions:

Is there anything you don't like about SLS? I've seriously never heard anything bad about it.

Nope. The place is amazing. An SLS alum once told me, "Yale and Harvard are like Rolls Royces, but Stanford is like a Rolls Royce with the top down."

But seriously, there are a couple downsides. They come from the bubble-like nature of Stanford and Palo Alto. To get off campus you need a bike or car, and the food/entertainment options on campus are quite limited. You'll quickly crave food besides the couple of on-campus spots, though Ike's Place sandwiches are the best in the world. Even then, getting into Palo Alto there are very few good bars, etc. We've already started repeating bars for bar review. It simply doesn't have as many cultural options as schools like Columbia, NYU, or Harvard. It is hard to appreciate how great of a place Stanford is without getting out every once in a while. So you need to be sure to take a break from the law school world sometimes.

That said, I've been to SF a couple times, and will be going much more often next quarter. For nightlife, you'll need a DD because the train stops running at midnight. SF is of course amazing, but its distance does limit how many trips we take there.

I'm interested in markets like Houston, Atlanta, places in Florida, etc. (not really interested in NYC, Chicago, etc). Do you think Stanford is able to place well there?

Definitely. Though the firms might not come to OCI in the fall, since you will likely be one of very few from SLS to enter those secondary markets, you should have no problem getting a job in those spots. A good number of SLSers are from Texas, and Texas firms love SLS students who are from there originally. A good amount of the 1L summer associate positions are at firms in Texas for Texans. Should be easy for you.

Do you know what elective you are taking for the winter term?

I'm taking Decision Making, Influence, and Leadership. It is with Deborah Rhode, who is an amazing professor. I think right now the class is about 12 people. A ton of my friends are taking evidence or white collar crime, but really it is all over the place-there are maybe 10 to 15 electives open to us. I wanted to get away from the big doctrinal classes, and I think my elective will be a nice change.

Also, I read that there is an OCI in Feb primarily for 1Ls. Is this true?

Yep, I think it only for 1Ls (all the other 2/3Ls have jobs). There are only a handful of law firms there though. Very few 1Ls get jobs through it. Patent litigation is really hot right now, and it seems like most of the formal open 1L positions at law firms in the bay area on in that area. The samsung/apple litigation is one example.

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby neonx » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:35 am

Ditto to everything Stig said. Really solid advice!

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby neonx » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:42 am

I'm interested in markets like Houston, Atlanta, places in Florida, etc. (not really interested in NYC, Chicago, etc). Do you think Stanford is able to place well there?

I can answer this one with regard to the Houston market. I'm a 1L Stanford. I submitted cover letters and resumes to three of Vault firms in Houston on December 1st and got call backs within the next two weeks to interview at each firm. I am interested in working this summer in TX and have personal ties to the region.

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby Stig » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:47 pm

neonx wrote:I can answer this one with regard to the Houston market. I'm a 1L Stanford. I submitted cover letters and resumes to three of Vault firms in Houston on December 1st and got call backs within the next two weeks to interview at each firm. I am interested in working this summer in TX and have personal ties to the region.


Image

heh

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby neonx » Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:01 pm

Stig wrote:
neonx wrote:I can answer this one with regard to the Houston market. I'm a 1L Stanford. I submitted cover letters and resumes to three of Vault firms in Houston on December 1st and got call backs within the next two weeks to interview at each firm. I am interested in working this summer in TX and have personal ties to the region.


Image

heh


Hahah. I love how that's the meme you've chosen, Stig. I was thinking more of a mattress (a la Indecent Proposal).

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby juliachild-ish » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:43 pm

cindypopper wrote:Thanks for the info, it was really helpful. I am between HLS and SLS. Any advice would help. Also how far is the drive from Fremont to Stanford, if I were to live in Fremont is that too far?


I would NOT live in Fremont. It would take you way more than 20-30 minutes to get there, especially during rush hour (which seems to be a lot of the day). You also have to account for 5-7 minutes driving on campus to get to the law school garage, and then another 8-10 minute walk from the garage to the law school. I live about 10 miles away and I still allow 45 minutes door to door to get to school, unless it's in the middle of the day. The commute from Cupertino is also kind of rough (a girl here started off the year living there but ended up moving to Palo Alto halfway through the semester). If you can deal with a slightly sketch neighborhood, I suggest East Palo Alto, and if not, Menlo Park and Mountain View are your best bets.

But otherwise, agree with everything! Yay SLS!

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby 1212 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:54 pm

Stig wrote:
neonx wrote:I can answer this one with regard to the Houston market. I'm a 1L Stanford. I submitted cover letters and resumes to three of Vault firms in Houston on December 1st and got call backs within the next two weeks to interview at each firm. I am interested in working this summer in TX and have personal ties to the region.


Image

heh


Haha. JD= Ju$t Dollaz!!!

Thanks guys. :)

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby stilles » Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:37 pm

Hello! Hope everyone is having a relaxing break before school begins!

I'm very excited about the Documentary Journal and have been scouring the web for more information. Unfortunately, I've only come across the SLS website and a few others which have only the documentary trailer for Arpaio's America (which is fantastic btw). I would love more information on how issues are selected, whether the issues must have a strictly legal emphasis as opposed to more social/policy problems (not that each are mutually exclusive), how many documentaries will be produced per given year, and any general information that you believe will be helpful. I know that Stig is on the exec board so I'm especially excited to hear what he/she has to say about this, and any other SLS students of course. I think the Documentary Journal is a refreshing alternative to the traditional journal medium and can give the legal field the pinch of spice that is needed.

Also, thx to neonx for all the helpful advice on TLS -- I'll definitely be following the suggestions you have put forth and if I'm lucky enough to be waitlisted, will be sending out LOCIs :)

Have a wonderful day!

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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby Maroon+Cardinal » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:14 pm

Bored at home on break, so I though I'd offer my two cents to the questions above.

How did you decide on Stanford?.

When I visited ASW, everyone was happy. That was the biggest issue. From my perspective there are too many ways to spend life to be miserable for three years. I only visited two schools. At one, students were like "Well, at least we'll make a lot of money when we graduate." At SLS they were happy. Or really good actors.

The school just seemed very conducive to being happy in law school and not too stressed. Between the grading system, the weather, the small size, etc., it seemed like an atmosphere where I could learn a lot, be set up to do pretty much whatever I want after law school, and be pretty happy during law school. Of course, the opportunities available in basically any field, upon graduation, certainly helped the decision, too.

I actually applied as an undergrad, simultaneously with some other things. I didn't really expect to accept law school admission at the time (I figured I'd have a better chance of admission after my other pursuits). But I got in to SLS, and after visiting, I was completely sold. I was able to defer, but I'm at SLS now and 100% satisfied.

Did you have to choose between Harvard and Stanford?

Actually, no. I applied kinda late (late December). Following TLS chatter, it seems that HLS never really got to people with such a late app before the mass wait-lists came out. I got waitlisted at both HLS and YLS. That being said, I'd have chosen SLS over HLS for sure. I hadn't actually gotten any decision from HLS when I decided on SLS, though I was pretty sure HLS was going to waitlist me, given the TLS chatter.

I am really worried about the egregious level of debt I will be in. Any thoughts on this?

Well, SLS debt can be scary. However, not to over-simplify, but the scenarios in which you would not either qualify for LRAP or make enough to pay off the debt are somewhat narrow. If $$$ are the only consideration, you could probably go somewhere cheaper (or scholarship-supported) and leave with less debt, but SLS grads, from what I can tell don't really worry too much about the debt. It's probably more of a psychological issue (i.e. knowing you owe a bajillion dollars) rather than an actual financial challenge.

If you want academia or clerkship type stuff, though, SLS (and two other schools) are really in their own class in terms of opportunities, so that's something to consider.

How have you adjusted to the quarter system (I am assuming you had a semester system in undergrad)?

I actually had quarters for undergrad, so the first-term 12-week hybrid between semester and quarter was a little daunting to me. It's a quarter pace, but an extra three weeks. It's intense, but I was used to it. I actually love quarters. I really enjoy the chance to change classes more often.

Are you involved in student organizations this year?

I'm an article editor for SLPR, which is the biggest secondary journal. Many 1L's do it. I'm also in a couple of other, fairly minimally active groups.

Do you live in Munger? How do you like your living accommodations?

Yes. It's very nice. I live in a 4 bedroom, and we have 4 and 1/2 bathrooms. We have 2 refrigerators for 4 people. The room is quite nice, and very spacious for student housing, I think.

It's also absurdly convenient. For 9:45 a.m. class, I can leave my bedroom at 9:41, and arrive to class on time. I can come home for lunch, if I'm not feeling the free events, and have time to make real food and either study/read or take a nap before afternoon class. I can print from my laptop in my room and be back from picking it up in the library in under 10 minutes (makes a great brief study break).

There's also a great community feel. Everyone is so close by that it's easy to catalyze social events, since it's not a big burden for ~70% of the class to show up on a few minutes' notice.

Are you from California?

I grew up in a small midwestern town, and have spent time in Chicago and the East Coast.

The weather is unreal to me. It's not quite perfect everyday, and it gets pretty chilly at night after Thanksgiving. Still, it's warmer in the middle of the night here than at noon in my hometown. And September through Thanksgiving were unbelievable. It truly never gets old. People from southern California complain sometimes that it's too cold at night. I am somewhat inclined to send them on trip to my house for a few days.


How was your finals experience?

Intense. I am not a crammer, and I was mostly on top of things during the quarter. Nevertheless, there's really no getting around basically a three-week ordeal of outlining/practice testing, etc.. I started really serious prep around Thanksgiving, which was pretty normal. Some people started a little earlier, but by Thanksgiving, pretty much everyone was in prep mode. It was super-intense for three weeks, but the one nice? thing about it is that everyone is doing it, so you aren't really missing out on much, at least in terms of social events, etc.

I've never been one to really strategize. Perhaps that was a mistake with the H/P system, but I felt fine in 3 of 4 exams (i.e. I don't know that more prep/effort would have changed my performance much). I didn't intentionally "punt" the 4th, but that's basically what happened. Civ Pro was our 4th exam. It was also my clearest instructor, the class with the least extensive doctrine (complex, but not that extensive), and the most systematic. Thus, I always prioritized it 4th. Since I often only got through about 80% of my study goals, it got neglected pretty severely. I let this happen somewhat intentionally, though, knowing that it was the last exam and that I'd have a day and a half I could devote entirely to it. Had I done with with any other class, it would've been a disaster, but with CivPro, it was enough time to at least not leave any gaping holes in my understanding. It's the one exam where I don't think I have a realistic chance of an H. I don't think had any huge errors or omissions, but my ability to write fluently and thoroughly about the problem was reduced by the less intense/extensive prep.

Some people stressed out a lot. I didn't really stress out (except for CivPro). Getting a P is basically automatic, unless you really mess up. If you have the academic ability to get into SLS, then you'd need to really blow off a class (i.e. not prepare or do the readings/pay attention in class) to fail to get a P. One professor even told us that fairly directly.

I was a mostly solo exam preparer. It's what has always worked for me, so I didn't really seek out a study group, etc. I did confer with someone over Civ Pro, but that was mostly to just ask/answer a few questions of each other's the day before the exam

I actually didn't mind the whole exam ordeal, though by the final prep for the last exam, I was running out of steam and ready to be finished. I think I maintained sanity/kept stress low in a few ways: 1) Not obsessing over the outcome. Sure, I hope to get some H's (every denies caring, but obviously would rather get them), but life will go on without them. 2) Being comfortable with the fact that being not stressed, well rested, and comfortable would probably be more valuable than being hyper-prepared, stressed and on edge. 3) Using a routine that used cognitive mechanisms and sleep to my advantage [reviewing the cases, etc. for a block of material one day and outlining the next day, after a good night of sleep]. 4) Keeping in mind that, even if I got straight P's, my job/career prospects are still better than 99% of the world (and probably close to 99% of law students). 5) Embracing the situation. Finals of 1L first term will be academically intense. Period. Trying to avoid that/maintain maintain the same type of social life / free time as normal is probably not feasible. But it's less than a month and it's with material that (except for CivPro), I found interesting. 6) Swimming every day. (I made this the one thing that I insisted on maintaining throughout, and I managed to do it -- 21 straight days).


Are you job hunting for summer? Are you PI?

Yeah. I waited 'till after finals. I'm definitely doing PI stuff this summer. I am very unsure of what I want to do after graduation. I have a few things in mind as possible routes. We'll see how it all goes.

Maroon+Cardinal
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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby Maroon+Cardinal » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:33 pm

Is there anything you don't like about SLS? I've seriously never heard anything bad about it.

You have to drive anywhere if you leave campus (or bike, I guess). Grocery shopping, dining, etc. I've lived on the East Coast for a few years before, and I was used to walking to get food, etc., and having places open very late.

Sometime I miss the city. But not really that much. I liked living in a city, but on a day-to-day basis, it really doesn't make that much different to me. The things that take up most of my daily life (studying, eating, sleeping, errands, etc.) aren't really impacted too much by the setting. If anything, the country club/bubble of Stanford makes them easier (except for grocery shopping).

It's not on the East Coast. It's not a huge issue for me, but outside of the Bay Area and LA (which isn't that close), there's not much within a few time zones of Stanford. So it's a stark contrast to the Boston-D.C. corridor, where a pretty large chunk of the business and political action in the U.S. (as well as population and culture) is all within about a 8-hour drive/train ride or 1.5-hour flight. If you are deeply entrenched in the East Coast (family, friends, job, etc.) that might be a consideration. I'm from the middle of nowhere, but after college and working for a few years, pretty much everyone I know is in the Boston/DC corridor or Chicago, if they aren't in the Bay Area. It'd be nice if they weren't 1,500-3000 miles away, but that's a minor issue. Being involved with work, etc., I didn't really have much of a chance to leave the city I actually lived in on the East Coast, anyway. So even though it feels far away from things, it probably doesn't make much day-to-day difference. In terms of jobs, I don't think it hurts much. In fact, since a lot of Stanford folks stay in California for summers/life, SLS can be a bit of a unique attribute when applying on the East Coast.

It's an expensive place to live, too. There are occasionally earthquakes (we had a small one this fall, most people didn't feel it, but I happened to be in a pretty quite part of the library, so it was noticeable).

If you hate palm trees, green grass, sunshine, amazing classmates, great professors, etc., you might struggle at Stanford.

So, in short, most of the negatives are pretty trivial and don't actually impact my life much. They pale in comparison to the advantages, in my book.

Do you know what elective you are taking for the winter term?

Evidence. The professor is incredibly well-regarded, and I definitely planned to take it at some point. I decided to do it now, when I know I am locked into a conventional class schedule anyway (as opposed to a clinic). It's a 5-credit class, but I'll still be in class much less time than I was in the Fall.

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AmandaPB
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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby AmandaPB » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:07 pm

Thanks Stig and everyone else. Stanford sounds so perfect and I can’t wait to visit.

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1212
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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby 1212 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:58 pm

AmandaPB wrote:Thanks Stig and everyone else. Stanford sounds so perfect and I can’t wait to visit.


ditt-freakin'-o!!!!

pride09
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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby pride09 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:57 pm

Oh TLS, it's been a while. I found a lot of information on this site helpful when I was making my decision last year, so I suppose answering these questions is one way I can give back to the TLS community. My answers are fairly similar to what others have posted, but they may still be helpful for prospective students to see that the positive feelings about SLS are pretty near universal among current students.

Is there anything you don't like about SLS? I've seriously never heard anything bad about it.
It is really hard to think of anything negative to say. The undergraduate dining hall is inferior to the one where I went to college (but I also don't rely on it for meals like I did in college). I don't like that lanes 1-3 of the Stanford track are reserved for the varsity track team; it's hard to compute my mile pace in lane 4. I wish Munger had better lighting. Yeah, I have no substantive complaints.

Do you know what elective you are taking for the winter term?
White collar crime. I don't think this class has been that big in the past, but it seems like everyone is taking it next quarter. The professor gets enthusiastic reviews, and the subject is a potential career interest I'm excited to explore.

How did you decide on Stanford?
Admitted Students Weekend really clinched it for me. This place is paradise. And everyone is happy to be here. The generous LRAP program was also important, since I plan on a PI career.

Did you have to choose between Harvard and Stanford?
Yes, and I labored over this decision for a long time. For me, Harvard's biggest draw was its pipeline to government jobs in DC. The stereotype in my mind was that Yale grads go into academia, Harvard grads go into politics, and Stanford grads go into lucrative technology law. I hope to find my way back to DC to work in a legislative office or executive agency, so Harvard seemed like the clear choice.

But Stanford just has so many advantages. The smaller size means I'll be competing against fewer classmates for those jobs. It also means I'll get to know professors better, have better odds of making law review, have a chance to be more active earlier on in leadership for journals, pro bonos, clubs, etc. Stig and others have culled the data to demonstrate career prospects are just as good at SLS as anywhere else. And standard of living is a real factor: I'd rather spend three years in a sunny state with a friendly community and a great football team than go anywhere else.

One of the biggest surprises when I got here was how many people are interested in politics and government. It seems like half the people here have spent time in DC working for a think tank or legislative office or campaign. Stanford has a much stronger DC network than I expected, given how far away we are.

The other advantage I hear people credit to Harvard is the lay prestige. Presumably, the people you care about impressing--grandparents, high school teachers, girlfriends--will know you got accepted to HLS and be duly impressed. The people you work with for the rest of your life will know that H and S are peers. It's true that the Harvard network is much larger, and maybe there's an advantage to that. Which is why I'm applying for the joint-MPP degree with the Kennedy School to have the best of both words: a legal education at Stanford, and a Harvard degree on my resume. (Although it's a crap shoot, of course, whether I get in to the joint degree program.)

I am really worried about the egregious level of debt I will be in. Any thoughts on this?
Maybe I should worry about this more than I actually do. I didn't go to law school to get rich. I have no interest in working for a big private firm. I'm going to go work for a nonprofit or the government, and let LRAP take care of the rest.

How have you adjusted to the quarter system (I am assuming you had a semester system in undergrad)?
The fall quarter is very similar to a fall semester, so I think I will have a better sense of this dynamic next year. I'm curious what it will be like to start a summer job several weeks after the other 1L interns have already started working. I wonder if these next two quarters will go by quickly since they are more condensed than the fall quarter, or if it's really going to turn into a slog by April and May when my friends at other schools are finishing up and I still have a month to go.

Are you involved in student organizations this year?
I joined a journal, a pro bono, and a couple others. Intramural ultimate frisbee has been one of the highlights of the quarter.

Do you live in Munger? How do you like your living accommodations?
Yes. Love it.

Are you from California?
No. The weather here is surreal to me. It was pretty much sunny and 70 degrees from when I got here in August until Thanksgiving. Now it's sunny and 60 degrees. Walking by palm trees on the way to class never gets old.

How was your finals experience?
It was pretty exhausting. Exams ranged from three hours to eight hours; it was about the equivalent of taking five LSATs in the span of a week. I feel good about my preparation and never got too stressed out, but I have absolutely no sense of how well I did. I could have gotten all H's or all P's. If this was college, I think I would have received a good grade in every course. I feel like I have a very solid grasp of all the cases. But of course we're not graded on how well we know the material; we're graded on how well we know it relative to our classmates. And I don't think I found any secret that allowed me to learn the information any better than all the people around me who did all the readings, came to all the lectures, and spent just as many hours studying in the library. If we had letter grades, I'd probably be really anxious. But we don't, so I'm not. I split my study time equally between all the classes; I guess I'll find out soon whether that was a good strategy.

Are you job hunting for summer? Are you PI?
Yes. I sent out about half a dozen DOJ apps before finals and got an interview. I'm more likely to end up at a non-profit/public interest firm in DC or the Bay Area.

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Stig
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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby Stig » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:49 pm

Glad to see so many other SLSers on here providing their perspective on life at SLS.


I've heard that Stanford resembles a resort...can I have some pics?

Of course. But please note that these were before anyone was on campus, so normally there would be tons of students walking/biking around the place.

Munger Exterior

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(this is our commute to class)

(New) Neukom Building

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Old Building

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Campus

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(Ike's place sandwiches lives in there...best sandwiches ever.)

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Album link here: link.

(SLS Documentary Film Project) I would love more information on how issues are selected, whether the issues must have a strictly legal emphasis as opposed to more social/policy problems (not that each are mutually exclusive), how many documentaries will be produced per given year, and any general information that you believe will be helpful.

I have a pretty limited amount of information on it, only having been on it for one semester, but the following is what I understand. Issues are selected by the members of the team, and at the end of this year we will be deciding on the next documentary. I think they run on a 2/3 year cycle in terms of how long they take to make. It seems to me that an issue is picked because it is a problem that the law heavily influences, but that has serious social/policy implications.

I'm on the marketing/business/distribution side, so I haven't seen much action this past quarter, but I know we have been working on editing and finalizing the film portion. The goal is to have a debut next spring. I'm in support of making the first film and this current one on which we are working streamable online, so we will see about that. Not much point of making a documentary if no one can watch it!

stilles
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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby stilles » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:16 pm

Stig wrote:I have a pretty limited amount of information on it, only having been on it for one semester, but the following is what I understand. Issues are selected by the members of the team, and at the end of this year we will be deciding on the next documentary. I think they run on a 2/3 year cycle in terms of how long they take to make. It seems to me that an issue is picked because it is a problem that the law heavily influences, but that has serious social/policy implications.

I'm on the marketing/business/distribution side, so I haven't seen much action this past quarter, but I know we have been working on editing and finalizing the film portion. The goal is to have a debut next spring. I'm in support of making the first film and this current one on which we are working streamable online, so we will see about that. Not much point of making a documentary if no one can watch it!


Thanks for all the helpful information Stig and a streamable online edition would be awesome! Can't wait to see what the Doc Project produces next (or be a part of it) and stunning pictures btw!

CONGRATS TO ALL THE ADMITS!!! :)

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BioEBear2010
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Re: Stanford Students Taking Qs (2011-12 Edition)

Postby BioEBear2010 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:10 pm

Congrats admits! Look forward to seeing ya'll in a few short months. And don't worry, Stanford football will still be very strong next year, even w/o the luck.




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