Debunking Law School Myths

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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scrowell
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Debunking Law School Myths

Postby scrowell » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:14 pm

Happy to do it for any of ya'll!

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fats provolone
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby fats provolone » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:14 pm

heard the California bar exam is really easy. myth?

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scrowell
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby scrowell » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:28 pm

fats provolone wrote:heard the California bar exam is really easy. myth?


It's kind of in the middle. I failed more 9th grade geometry exams than CA bar exams (1 vs. 0). But then again, I did study a good amount for the CA bar!

I'd say "easy" is a myth. "Difficult" is a myth too. As long as you put some work into rule memorization and can read and write well you'll do fine!

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Tanicius
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby Tanicius » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:32 pm

scrowell wrote:
fats provolone wrote:heard the California bar exam is really easy. myth?


It's kind of in the middle. I failed more 9th grade geometry exams than CA bar exams (1 vs. 0). But then again, I did study a good amount for the CA bar!

I'd say "easy" is a myth. "Difficult" is a myth too. As long as you put some work into rule memorization and can read and write well you'll do fine!


Okay dude, whatever. Anything you need to put a few months of work into passes as difficult in my book.

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scrowell
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby scrowell » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:46 pm

Tanicius wrote:
scrowell wrote:
fats provolone wrote:heard the California bar exam is really easy. myth?


It's kind of in the middle. I failed more 9th grade geometry exams than CA bar exams (1 vs. 0). But then again, I did study a good amount for the CA bar!

I'd say "easy" is a myth. "Difficult" is a myth too. As long as you put some work into rule memorization and can read and write well you'll do fine!


Okay dude, whatever. Anything you need to put a few months of work into passes as difficult in my book.


Fair enough! I really didn't mind studying for that bad boy TBH. Maybe I'm just a sadistic mofo

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Tanicius
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby Tanicius » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:48 pm

scrowell wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
Okay dude, whatever. Anything you need to put a few months of work into passes as difficult in my book.


Fair enough! I really didn't mind studying for that bad boy TBH. Maybe I'm just a sadistic mofo


What made the bar hard was the consistency. It's a long stretch, and I and lots of other people have never been good at marathon-style studying. It also doesn't help whatsoever if you have a job offer riding on passing first time. The uncertainty and the emotions that go along with the uncertainty make it a highly miserable experience. If I got paid money to just chill at home and memorize fairly basic legal doctrines all day long, I might not have minded it as much.

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scrowell
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby scrowell » Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:59 pm

Tanicius wrote:
scrowell wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
Okay dude, whatever. Anything you need to put a few months of work into passes as difficult in my book.


Fair enough! I really didn't mind studying for that bad boy TBH. Maybe I'm just a sadistic mofo


What made the bar hard was the consistency. It's a long stretch, and I and lots of other people have never been good at marathon-style studying. It also doesn't help whatsoever if you have a job offer riding on passing first time. The uncertainty and the emotions that go along with the uncertainty make it a highly miserable experience. If I got paid money to just chill at home and memorize fairly basic legal doctrines all day long, I might not have minded it as much.


Agreed. It's mostly mental. I was working at the time, so I had work all day to distract me. When I got home, I could just chill and memorize the basic rules for a couple hours. Not so bad at all. It was also nice to know that my job wasn't riding on passing. If I started to freak, I would remind myself of that. I went in there confidently and relaxed. I think that was probably the biggest thing I had going for me.

OTOH, I knew people who woke up at 5am to study all day and failed. I really, truly believe that taking school or the bar that seriously doesn't help, and can potential hurt.

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starry eyed
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby starry eyed » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:04 pm

I keep hearing about the randomness of law school exam grading. Can you realistically have a good gauge of what grade you will get? In other words, were a lot of people 'shocked' when grades came in?

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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby Nomo » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:29 pm

alaird21 wrote:I keep hearing about the randomness of law school exam grading. Can you realistically have a good gauge of what grade you will get? In other words, were a lot of people 'shocked' when grades came in?


I'm going to hijack the thread and answer this. Personally, my grades tended to match my interest in the subject and the amount of work I put in. Many other people felt like their grades were totally random, and I can see how that would happen. You might really like Torts and think you understand it, but chances are that everyone in your class also understands it pretty equally ... and someone has to make a bad grade. You might not have a great grasp on property, but if hardly anyone has a great grasp on it then you might still make an A. Most students have pretty similar abilities and work-ethic, and you're being graded on a single 4-hour exam. If you blank out, or go down the wrong rabbit hole for 15 minutes, you could be in real trouble - no matter how well you know the material.

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starry eyed
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby starry eyed » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:32 pm

Nomo wrote:
alaird21 wrote:I keep hearing about the randomness of law school exam grading. Can you realistically have a good gauge of what grade you will get? In other words, were a lot of people 'shocked' when grades came in?


I'm going to hijack the thread and answer this. Personally, my grades tended to match my interest in the subject and the amount of work I put in. Many other people felt like their grades were totally random, and I can see how that would happen. You might really like Torts and think you understand it, but chances are that everyone in your class also understands it pretty equally ... and someone has to make a bad grade. You might not have a great grasp on property, but if hardly anyone has a great grasp on it then you might still make an A. Most students have pretty similar abilities and work-ethic, and you're being graded on a single 4-hour exam. If you blank out, or go down the wrong rabbit hole for 15 minutes, you could be in real trouble - no matter how well you know the material.


Thanks, that was very helpful (not flame)

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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby fourtyacslaw » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:45 pm

alaird21 wrote:I keep hearing about the randomness of law school exam grading. Can you realistically have a good gauge of what grade you will get? In other words, were a lot of people 'shocked' when grades came in?


In my experience my feelings about how I did after reflecting upon the exam and perhaps talking with a person or two were generally pretty indicative of how my grade came back. You will know if you bombed a problem, missed an issue, or didn't fully flesh out your answer in the time allotted. With time to think outside of the exam environment you should also be able to have a pretty good idea of if you went about a question the right way or missed some key intricacy. While I don't think you can accurately predict your exact letter grade, I would say I could reliably pin it down to a 3-unit range (e.g., A/A-/B+, C+/B-/B). I was only surprised (pleasantly) by one course grade, my first semester LRWA. I think that's logical though since it's much different than any law school exam in a lot of respects.

In short, I don't think it's random at all. You will likely have a pretty good idea of the ballpark you performed in and the unpredictable part is the relative performance of your classmates that will determine where you fall in it.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:41 am

I don't think grades are random, but I don't think anyone can predict with any real accuracy how they did once they come out of the exam, because of that whole "relative performance to your classmates" thing. At least, you really can't do it as a 1L. And I don't think being able to "predict" in a 3-unit range is especially helpful, because at a lot of schools the scale is narrow enough that there's a big difference between an A or B+ - at a lot of schools that's the difference between top of the class and median. So, I either got an excellent grade or an ordinary one? That's not a very precise prediction.

And I was totally not surprised by LWR, but we got grades in that throughout the whole semester.

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fats provolone
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby fats provolone » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:43 am

i think people who killed an exam know they killed it. and people who fucked up know they fucked up. everyone in between has no clue. and nony is right that the difference between the top and bottom range of the "in between" is pretty fucking huge.

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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:51 am

I guess that's true, except I think that sometimes people equate "easy exam" with "I killed it" and "hard exam" with "I fucked up," and then results are unclear. I know someone who got 95/100 out of a MC exam, which you'd think is pretty darn good, but ended up with a B on the curve. And then you may think you got wrecked by an exam but it turns out it was so hard, the 2 issues you spotted that your classmates didn't netted you the top grade in the class.

(It might have just been me who mixed up those things though.)

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fats provolone
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby fats provolone » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:53 am

yea that is a confounding variable

Nat Sherman
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby Nat Sherman » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:04 am

alaird21 wrote:I keep hearing about the randomness of law school exam grading. Can you realistically have a good gauge of what grade you will get? In other words, were a lot of people 'shocked' when grades came in?

I'll throw my two cents out there because I've been on the extremes. First semester of 1L year I didn't really try as hard as I should and ended up below median. 2 Bs, B+, and an A-. Second semester I got my shit together, realized what was different between my B exams and the A-, and got much better at structuring an exam correctly. Ended up pulling out 3 A's and an A-.

When I had only first semester grades, I thought I did decent exams, thought I spotted issues well and explained them. I didn't think there was too stark of a difference in my exams to warrant a range of a B to an A-. However, after realizing what an A exam looks like and getting a few of them, I am shocked they didn't kick me out of school or at least fail me for what I turned in on those B exams. I didn't fully go down any forks, only hit very basic issues, and didn't even try and use any policy to help determine the issue when it was clearly split down the middle on analysis. As for second semester, I can tell you exactly what I did wrong on the A- exam that stopped me from getting an A.

The only exams where it can be bullshit and grades can be kind of arbitrary is on really tight curves. One class my 1L year, the exam was out of 200 points. The difference between a B+ and an A was a little more than 5%. And he had a very specific rubric of 5 questions, 10-15 issues per question worth 1-3 points each. So even if you got something right, but your analysis was hidden in bad structure, that could have been the difference between a 3.3 and 4 in that class.

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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:17 am

when you go to aa TTT you can easily know how you did on most exams while taking the exam. i was probably wrong about 2 of my grades all of law school. if you dont ever have to say wtf you prolly got an A or A-.

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scrowell
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby scrowell » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:15 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:when you go to aa TTT you can easily know how you did on most exams while taking the exam. i was probably wrong about 2 of my grades all of law school. if you dont ever have to say wtf you prolly got an A or A-.


I agree with this. There are many people that just don't "get it" at tt/ttt/tttt (I suspect they have reading comp problems). There are really only 3 steps to law school.

1. understand the law during class.
2. memorize the rule right before the exam.
3. take the exam, and apply rule to exam facts.

simple.

Nomo
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby Nomo » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:31 pm

I don't mean to be elitist, but at my T14 I think the only people who just didn't get it were 2L's and 3L's who didn't grasp a subject because they mailed in the class and tried to learn it all in one week (I was occasionally guilty of this).

I'm assuming that when you say "people who just don't get it" you're referring to people who just didn't understand black letter law and how to apply it. If you mean there are people that struggle to see a hypo as a flow chart of possibilities, or struggles with how to extend the reasoning (or distinguish) a case that is largely on point, then I think everyone screws that up sometimes.

Lions1913
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby Lions1913 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:36 pm

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Last edited by Lions1913 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ymmv
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby ymmv » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:38 pm

Lions1913 wrote:How much did people's relative LSAT and GPA (compared to their classmates) predict their grades 1L?


They almost certainly don't. But only douchebags go around sharing that info conversationally anyway.

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scrowell
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby scrowell » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:40 pm

Nomo wrote:I don't mean to be elitist, but at my T14 I think the only people who just didn't get it were 2L's and 3L's who didn't grasp a subject because they mailed in the class and tried to learn it all in one week (I was occasionally guilty of this).

I'm assuming that when you say "people who just don't get it" you're referring to people who just didn't understand black letter law and how to apply it. If you mean there are people that struggle to see a hypo as a flow chart of possibilities, or struggles with how to extend the reasoning (or distinguish) a case that is largely on point, then I think everyone screws that up sometimes.


Yes, I mean that there are people that dont understand the law and don't understand how to apply it. And yeah, you're probably right. I doubt there are many (if any) people at very top schools that dont get it. I am just thinking of people that studied all the time and ended up with C after C.

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scrowell
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby scrowell » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:41 pm

ymmv wrote:
Lions1913 wrote:How much did people's relative LSAT and GPA (compared to their classmates) predict their grades 1L?


They almost certainly don't. But only douchebags go around sharing that info conversationally anyway.



Agree. I probably had the lowest LSAT at my school and I was too 20%

Lions1913
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby Lions1913 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:55 pm

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Last edited by Lions1913 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigZuck
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Re: Debunking Law School Myths

Postby BigZuck » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:02 pm

I probably underperformed my entering numbers by a decent clip (LSAT especially). Law school grading is a lot more random/unpredictable than most people are saying ITT from my experience. Although, I didn't have any exams that were 100% traditional issue spotter.

So when do the myths start getting debunked?




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