If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
flat-fifth
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If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby flat-fifth » Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:20 am

Very simple question: How did you do it?

Give as much detail as you like. I'm truly interested in your story.

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sinfiery
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby sinfiery » Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:22 am

lol die in a fire i hate you

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brotherdarkness
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby brotherdarkness » Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:25 am

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Last edited by brotherdarkness on Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

09042014
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby 09042014 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:35 am

Brief every case, including note cases*. That's the key. Many times the entire exam is based on them. It takes 80 hours a week but it's worth it.

* Pull them up on lexis.

flat-fifth
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby flat-fifth » Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:42 am

Desert Fox wrote:It takes 80 hours a week but it's worth it.


Holy Shit.

09042014
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby 09042014 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:45 am

flat-fifth wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:It takes 80 hours a week but it's worth it.


Holy Shit.


That's including study groups and ready though. So really it's just that plus actual class. It's not too bad. Better than big law at least.

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:54 am

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Last edited by Hipster but Athletic on Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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mi-chan17
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby mi-chan17 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:09 am

Did all the reading - took maybe 40 hours as week - and used my first semester exam results (just above median) to teach me how to take an exam before second semester finals rolled around.

hiima3L
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby hiima3L » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:14 am

I worked like a horse and finished 1L barely above median.

My friend finished 1st in our section and he did an ungodly amount of work. I don't think he went out on the weekends even once. 80-100hrs/wk would be my estimate.

My other friend rarely went to class, always seemed unprepared and clueless, and did not strike me as smart the entire year. But then after her telling me she got ~30 OCI interviews, I found out she finished top 5%. I remember admitting to her that she always seemed like she didn't understand things and she explained that she hardly studied until finals. I found it hard to believe, but I have no reason not to believe her. She is just one of those very naturally book smart people. I also found out about a year later (when she got divorced) that she was having very serious marital problems all 1L year.

So, there's that.

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sd5289
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby sd5289 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:56 pm

Finished top 15%.

Think it's a little different for everyone, but the basics were:

- paid attention to what the prof was saying in class (remember, s/he is the one writing/grading the exam, and it's to your benefit to figure out what resonates with him/her and what does not come exam time)

- read almost everything (I think I fell behind during the job hunt at the beginning of the spring semester, but as soon as I was hired in February, I was able to catch back up)

- learned from my fall semester exams (finished fall semester a little above median, but not significantly, and spoke to my profs about what I did wrong...it becomes very useful come second semester exams)

- avoided the exam room and other 1Ls during finals (honestly, I still do this one because law students are cray cray on exam day, and I would find an uninhabited corner of my school, put my earphones in, and ignored everyone except close friends)

- speaking of exam day, if you live off campus ARRIVE EARLY, get your spot, and then leave (you'll be sitting there for hours on end, so might as well make it the spot you feel most comfortable in and won't be subject to distractions like people getting up to go use the restroom or whatever)

rambleon65
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby rambleon65 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:01 am

Finished around top 5%.

1) Don't waste time on being the best in-class answerer. Nobody cares how smart/dumb you sound. Think bigger picture. See #2.

2) The important part is not just memorizing, but really understanding the rule. Many people claim that practice exams are the best way to study for finals and while it's true, the key mechanism for this is that it forces you to really think about the rule. It's one thing to recall rules, but it's another to realize why and how such rule exists/applies. I only took a few practice exams. The key part of studying for me was thinking really in depth about a concept.

3) Outlines aren't everything. You should never have an outline longer than 20 or so pages. Honestly, once you've made, edited, and distilled your outline, your outline itself is pretty worthless. This is because, presumably, you'll have mastered the rules and thought about how it fits into the greater scheme of the course. This is what helps you apply new facts to the situation.

4) Checklists, on the other hand, are awesome. It is a checklist of all the potential issues you may use. I.e. in Torts, think of all the claims the plaintiff could make and make a list. Make it a list that you can memorize, no longer than a page or two. It reverses the test-taking process from facts->issue->rule, to issue->fact->issue->rule. Think of it as a menu you can refer back to.

5) Get in your prof's head. Usually, a law school class consists of a) mastering the doctrine PLUS b) a focus of your professor. For example, my Torts professor was a big econ guy, so I thought of everything in terms of how certain rules affect the incentive structure for future tortfeasors. Or my Property professor was a big policy person, especially in terms of racism/minorities. So for example, when it comes to Landlord-Tenant Law, think about what the law, as a matter of public policy, is attempting to do/protect.

6) Don't get pulled into everybody's madness. It will not help you. Take a break. Go to bar review. Go to the gym. Go drink. Go be irresponsible from time to time. Even during finals, I took the time to either go eat a decent meal, or go to the gym. Hours is not what dictates success. I would say I spent no more than 40 hrs a week during the whole year and then may be up to 60 / week during finals. Which really isn't that much.

olive16
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby olive16 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:04 pm

Practice exams, early and often.

shock259
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby shock259 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:00 pm

Here's a few random tips:

1) Practice exams with model answers are HUGE. Preferably for your professor, but even ones for random professors are helpful. Do practice exams until you have nearly memorized the black letter. I probably did 5-6 full exams for each course. And I outlined the answers to a lot more. Issue spotting is huge, so get comfortable with it.

2) Write out black letter law statements for the most common issues. These are sentences that explain (extremely) briefly what the legal concept is. I just pulled this from my 1L contracts outline: An offer is an act that leads the offeree to reasonably believe that the power to create a contract is conferred upon him/her. An offer is tested objectively and must be clear and definite as to its terms.

When it comes to test time and you see offer as an issue in the prompt, write this sentence down verbatim. Then, immediately following, start analyzing. IE: X party will claim that there was an offer because ____. Y party will claim there was no offer because ___. Etc.

This makes exams much more comfortable.

3) "Attack" outlines are helpful. These are basic listings of the most common issues in the class, and the ones that are almost certain to be on the exam. The purpose of this is to have one page of paper where you can scan over issues and make sure you didn't miss anything.

This, combined with my BLL statements (above) were basically all I consulted during the exam.

4) Figure out what works for you with regards to answer outlining. Some people make fancy charts with their outlined answers before starting. I would literally start typing within 2 minutes of the exam starting. Do what works for you.

5) Keep your head down, don't listen to other 1Ls. Also, take what older students say with a grain of salt (this post included). Find what works for you, take what info you can from wiser students, and discard the rest. People have hugely varying opinions on how to do well in law school. They may or may not work for you.

6) Try to relax and take care of yourself. It's easy to burn out quickly if you are going full throttle all the time.

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Cicero76
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby Cicero76 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:09 pm

From the title of the thread I thought this would be a massive flame. OP is still a flame but good job to some of the responses for being helpful. FWIW I finished bottom of my class doing ten hours/ week. Totally worth it

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brotherdarkness
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby brotherdarkness » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:11 pm

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Last edited by brotherdarkness on Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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stillwater
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby stillwater » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:13 pm

just be the man during exams. thats about it.

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stillwater
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby stillwater » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:13 pm

Cicero76 wrote:From the title of the thread I thought this would be a massive flame. OP is still a flame but good job to some of the responses for being helpful. FWIW I finished bottom of my class doing ten hours/ week. Totally worth it


(goes to Yale. Makes annoying posts.)

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bjsesq
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby bjsesq » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:19 pm

Slept 8 hours a night, save Sunday, where I slept for 10 because I had drinks with friends on Saturday night. Other than that. If I wasn't lifting, eating, or sleeping, I was studying. Probably 80-90 hours a week. Three study groups, read supplements along with lexis notes, generally got 5 outlines from different people and combined them into one along with my own. Gotta work hard.

09042014
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby 09042014 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:21 pm

bjsesq wrote:Slept 8 hours a night, save Sunday, where I slept for 10 because I had drinks with friends on Saturday night. Other than that. If I wasn't lifting, eating, or sleeping, I was studying. Probably 80-90 hours a week. Three study groups, read supplements along with lexis notes, generally got 5 outlines from different people and combined them into one along with my own. Gotta work hard.


Don't be modest. You brought your E&E to saturday drinks.

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bjsesq
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby bjsesq » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:22 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
bjsesq wrote:Slept 8 hours a night, save Sunday, where I slept for 10 because I had drinks with friends on Saturday night. Other than that. If I wasn't lifting, eating, or sleeping, I was studying. Probably 80-90 hours a week. Three study groups, read supplements along with lexis notes, generally got 5 outlines from different people and combined them into one along with my own. Gotta work hard.


Don't be modest. You brought your E&E to saturday drinks.


If there was somewhere there worth asking, maybe.

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brotherdarkness
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby brotherdarkness » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:23 pm

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Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:46 pm

If by "top of your class" you mean top few people (not #1 overall, but somewhere in the top 5), my experience is that Fall 1L I killed myself with outlining (made all of my own outlines), practicing questions, doing practice exams, meeting with the professors to go over details I did not understand. Spring 1L I did the same thing but at 75% level of intensity (made some outlines, others I borrowed or adapted from law review), did some practice problems but honestly by the end of the semester I was pretty burned out. Fall 2L I missed tons of classes during the job hunt, was way behind in reading for every class, skimmed the cases, made 0 outlines (either borrowed an outline from law review or just didn't make an outline).

Result: I got the exact same grades every semester.
Takeaway: Not really sure, but I wonder how much of the time I spent Fall 1L was unnecessary. It does make sense to do everything you can 1L year to prep for exams, but my experience leads me to think that I could have slacked off a lot until the final month and probably had very similar results.

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jbagelboy
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:49 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:If by "top of your class" you mean top few people (not #1 overall, but somewhere in the top 5), my experience is that Fall 1L I killed myself with outlining (made all of my own outlines), practicing questions, doing practice exams, meeting with the professors to go over details I did not understand. Spring 1L I did the same thing but at 75% level of intensity (made some outlines, others I borrowed or adapted from law review), did some practice problems but honestly by the end of the semester I was pretty burned out. Fall 2L I missed tons of classes during the job hunt, was way behind in reading for every class, skimmed the cases, made 0 outlines (either borrowed an outline from law review or just didn't make an outline).

Result: I got the exact same grades every semester.
Takeaway: Not really sure, but I wonder how much of the time I spent Fall 1L was unnecessary. It does make sense to do everything you can 1L year to prep for exams, but my experience leads me to think that I could have slacked off a lot until the final month and probably had very similar results.


This makes sense, since you're on a curve, and your classmates were probably putting on comparable effort to you each semester. Then your relative grades would remain constant. As you know well, we arent dealing in absolutes

arklaw13
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby arklaw13 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:54 pm

Didn't do much work in the semester after the first month of anxiety faded. Only outlined one class and it was 14 pages. Got an old outline for another class that I don't remember looking at on exam day. For the other class I just made checklists. Focused on taking practice exams and learning what each professor wanted. My three exams looked extremely different from each other. During the normal week I'd say I put in 20 hours outside of class. First half of November maybe 30, second half of November probably 40. Once December came it was basically every waking minute. I don't think much studying during the semester is really worth it for me because I'll just forget it by exam time anyway. Focus on building your exam taking skills during the semester and cram the substantive material towards the end.

caryatis
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Re: If you finished 1L year top of your class get in here!!

Postby caryatis » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:13 am

I think it's really important to stay sane. Yeah sure I worked hard, harder than I expected. But I also went to the gym every day, slept, spent time with my nonlawschool boyfriend.

Like most people I outlined and took practice exams. I didn't have a study group. I"m the sort of person who learns from reading--frankly I don't think I got that much from classes. The professor's past exams told me more about what he/she wanted on the exam.




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