How do I do well in Law School?

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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Re: How do I do well in Law School?

Postby pancakes3 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:21 am

For 1L employment, absolutely not. It's all GPA and school preftige from hereon out. I did do a fair bit of student pro bono and it made for decent talking points during interviews but they were much more interested in undergrad and work experience.

Student pro bono involving area lawyers is also a really good way to network if you're the type of person who sucks at networking.

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Re: How do I do well in Law School?

Postby chuckbass » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:30 am

pancakes3 wrote:For 1L employment, absolutely not. It's all GPA and school preftige from hereon out. I did do a fair bit of student pro bono and it made for decent talking points during interviews but they were much more interested in undergrad and work experience.

Student pro bono involving area lawyers is also a really good way to network if you're the type of person who sucks at networking.

The only thing you should do is join an affinity group to more easily signal diversity on your applications if this applies to you. You don't need to get involved, but I think getting involved does help if you're competing for 1L SA diversity spots.

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Re: How do I do well in Law School?

Postby pancakes3 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:33 am

That's fair.

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Re: How do I do well in Law School?

Postby NoBladesNoBows » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:41 pm

Last edited by NoBladesNoBows on Wed Jul 01, 2015 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How do I do well in Law School?

Postby pancakes3 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:16 pm

For most interviews the the interviewer just runs down the resume section by section and asks you about things that caught their eye because they're looking at it for the first time (or that's the impression they're giving off). If you've got a unique major, they'll ask you about it and tie it into asking why you decided on going to law school. I was interviewed by an UG alum twice, and a few more times it was "Oh, my niece/nephew/brother/cousin/son/daughter goes/went there!" and you shoot the shit about it. One lady and I started talking and we got into the local bars, and frat/srat life of my UG. One person shared my unique/non-trad LS major, and we talked about that for a sec and how much of it applies to law school/being a lawyer. If you volunteer or do pro bono they'll ask you why you decided to do that, and about your experiences. It's all very superficial and conversational.

Work experience plays more of role in enhancing your employment odds. If you have a financial/CS/real estate/etc. background and you know how the industry works and/or the regulations they work with, it gives you a leg up. If you already have security clearance, that helps too. Work experience in general helps because you can just shoot the shit about what you used to do. Spin it to make you seem competent, and goal/result oriented. It just sounds better that you were part of X project and you worked to get Y accomplished than to say "I was student body treasurer and we raised over $5,000 for parkinsons research with our casino night"

I've heard people say that some interviewers came in, dropped off a case, and wanted you to brief it and gave you 15 mins. A few judicial interns said that their interviewer asked them about points of law taken from the writing sample. I didn't have to do any of that and I went on about a dozen 1L interviews (no judges though).

So yeah, I absolutely buy into the adage that your GPA/school gets you the interview, and it's how you perform in the interview that gets you the job.

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Re: How do I do well in Law School?

Postby anon52319 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:02 pm


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Re: How do I do well in Law School?

Postby Troianii » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:45 am

twenty wrote:1L with very good first semester grades. Still waiting for second semester.

The single most important thing you can do as a 0L is find yourself, on the first day of class, not worrying about grades. If you followed TLS' advice in picking a law school, you're either attending a T13 school, or a lower ranked school with a full scholarship in the region you want to practice in. If you're at a T13, you don't have to worry about your grades, because, like, 80% of the kids at Columbia and Penn were getting biglaw/A3, and the rest of the T14 isn't far behind. As long as you're not in the very bottom of your class, you'll be fine. At a regional school with a full scholarship, grades don't matter nearly as much as networking, outside work, "hustle", etc. Either way, whether you do well or not in law school is almost entirely determined by choices you make long before your first day of class.

Having said all that,

Brief a case at the beginning of the semester. It will feel clunky, counterintuitive, and like you wasted a lot of time. Now never brief another case. Take good notes in class, but "good notes" doesn't mean writing everything down, it means writing down things that matter. For instance, suppose your professor says this:

In Lefkowitz, Great Minneapolis Surplus Store published advertisements in a newspaper for a sale on fur coats, mink scarves, and a lapin stole. Each of the advertisements indicated that the sale items would be sold on a first come first served basis, stated the quantities of each item available, and stated that they would be sold for one dollar each. Lefkowitz, the plaintiff, was the first customer to present himself and offer the one dollar price per the terms of the advertisement. The defendant refused to sell the sale items to Lefkowitz and told him that according to the “house rules” the offer was intended for women only. At trial, the court determined that the advertisement was clear, definite, and explicit and left nothing open for negotiation. The court held that Lefkowitz was entitled to performance by the defendant because he complied with the terms of the advertisement and offered the stated purchase price. The court granted judgment in favor of the plaintiff and awarded damages equal to the stated value in the advertisement for the mink stole minus the $1 purchase price. The court denied the claim on the coat, ruling that the value was too speculative and the defendant appealed. What circumstances might an advertisement for the sale of goods constitute an offer? The appellate court concluded that an advertisement involving a transaction in goods is an offer when it invites particular action, and when it is clear, definite, and explicit and leaves nothing open for negotiation. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store contended that a newspaper advertisement constitutes a unilateral offer which may be withdrawn without notice. The general rule is that advertisements are invitations to contract rather than offers; for contract formation purposes the prospective purchaser makes the offer and the seller can accept or reject the offer when received. An advertisement construed in such a manner does not become a contract for sale until a buyer’s offer is accepted by the seller, and the advertised terms can be modified or revoked without notice. The test is whether the facts show that some performance was promised in positive terms in return for something requested. Whether such an advertisement is an offer rather than an invitation to make an offer depends on the legal intention of the parties and the surrounding circumstances. As for the Lapin fur, the offer was clear, definite, explicit, and left nothing open to negotiation. While the offeror has the right to modify his offer prior to acceptance, he cannot change his offer after acceptance.

Here's what your notes should look like:

Lefkowitz (the case with the dude who likes ladies' clothing): an offer must be clear, definite, explicit, and must not leave anything open for negotiation. offeror can modify offer before acceptance, but can't change offer after acceptance. advertisements are usually not offers - go back to leonard v pepsico for more advertisement rules relating to offers

...which will translate into your exam:

...The issue is whether Walt's written notice to Jesse is a legal offer. An offer must be clear, definite, and explicit, and must not leave anything open for negotiation (Lefkowitz). An offeror may modify the offer prior to acceptance, but can't change the offer after acceptance. (Lefkowitz). Advertisements are usually not offers, (Leonard), and a reasonable person in the offeree's shoes would see the outward manifestation as an offer (Lucy). Here, Walt's written statement "Jesse, let's cook!" may not be clear, definite, and explicit. Jesse could argue that "let's cook" is sufficiently vague enough to where even if Jesse agreed, it's not clear as to what he's agreeing with; Jesse will argue that in order for Walt's written notice to be clear, definite and explicit, the offer must lay out when Walt wants the meth by, what condition the meth must be in, what price Walt is willing to pay for Jesse's services, but Walt will argue ...

haha, I would love to read your briefs. I remember doing multiple briefs every day when I took Con law (upper level undergraduate course), and they're fun to read when the person doing them knows their s*** and has a sense of humor.

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Re: How do I do well in Law School?

Postby Troianii » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:49 am

starry eyed wrote:
twenty wrote:
MurdockLLP wrote:Can you elaborate?

Briefing is a time suck at best, and kind of a siren song to 1Ls at worst. It gives you this false comfort that you're being studious when in reality you're just spinning your wheels and wasting time. You will get no points for knowing the full case name. You will get no points for knowing the procedural history of a case. You will get no points for knowing all the facts of a case, (although you WILL get points for analogizing to cases: i.e, "P will argue that the deadly electric fence here is similar to the spring-gun in Katko..." but only as long as you're actually doing analysis), you will get no points for knowing what the issue in a case was, you will get no points for knowing what the court's holding was based on, and you will get no points for knowing whether the lower court's decision was affirmed.

Exam 1:

For as long as western civilization has subscribed to common law--a methodology in which judicial officers, or "judges" apply precedent recognized in social customs and traditions--society has recognized the need for contracts. A functioning commercial system would be nearly impossible without uniformity and the faith of the parties that their promises would be legally enforceable, and thus contract law was born. As the court concludes in Hamer v. Sidway, 124 N.Y. 538, 27, N.E. 256 (N.Y. 1891), consideration is a key element of a contract, and one for which without, contract law could not exist. The unanimity of the court is an artfully-symbolic representation of common law in action - consideration is valuable in the sense that the binding contract may function in the scope of some right, interest, profit or benefit accruing to the one party, or some forbearance, detriment, loss or responsibility given, suffered or undertaken by the other. As such, the executor of Story I’s estate, Sidway, was therefore legally bound to deliver the promised $5,000 to whoever currently held the interest in the sum, which by the time of the trial was Hamer. However, since the early 20th century (especially as embodied in the First and Second Restatements of Contracts), a dominant view has been the "bargain theory." According to the "bargain theory," a typical contract must consist of a bargained-for exchange where the consideration offered by one party (promisee) induces the making of a promise by another party (promisor), and the promisee, having been induced by the promise, gives this consideration. Thus Hamer was decided on the basis of a legal theory that has largely been replaced or supplemented by newer theory, meaning that similar cases may be viewed differently by contemporary courts. In our situation, a court would likely conclude that, like in Hamer where Respondent's forbearance of legal rights on the promises of future benefit made by Petitioner could constitute valid consideration, Jesse's willingness to forgo his legal, nay, inviolable right to choose upon his free will and readily-available sentience (See Generally: In God We Trust), the Agreement Jesse makes with Walt crystallizes the absolute necessity of consideration in contract law. But for Jesse, Walt would remain a decrepit old man, alone with his dreams of societal deviance.

Exam 2:

here goes fuck fuck fuckity fuck


Rule: offer must be clear definite and explicit (lefkwotz)
Rule: reasonable person in the offeree's shoes must see it as an offer (that case with the guy who drew a contract on a napkin
Rule: offeror is master of the offer
Rrule: offer may not be revoked after acceptance (that csae with the guy whose hunting the offeror down in london to accept)

analysis 1: offer is cde because walt's words stipulate the exact dollar amount, the exact quantity of meth, the quality of which walt epexcts the metht o be, and the time in which its supposed to be done by. walt is the master of the offer, and he can revoke the offer any time before it's acceptance. a reasonable person in jesse's shoes would have seen walts words as an offer to create a legally binding agreement; it doesn't reserve any assent

analysis 2: walt's saying 'fuck off, jesse' is probably sufficient to create a revocation, but Jesse will argue that walt says these things all the time and it's not actually enough to create a real revocation.

conclusion: a court would probably have difficulty buying that walt's telling jesse to fuck off ISN'T a revocation but maybe walt can introduce evidence where he's like "yeah, we talk like this all the time and jesse would obviously know that i don't REAALLY mean for him to fuck off" and that'd probably meet the reasonable person in Jesse's shoes requirement for whether the revocation was in effect prior to jesse's acceptance


rule: acceptance must be unquivocal (the case with the airplane)

The first student has beautifully prepared briefs with case citations, procedural histories, facts, proper names, dissenting opinions, the whole nine yards. He meticulously reads every case, comes to class fully prepared to discuss Pennoyer, has tabbed outlines he refers to, and asks impressive questions like "Where do we, as a society, draw the line between concocting legal fiction in the name of equitable justice, like with the felony murder rule, and the requisite constitutional requirement for due process in which felony murder is so aptly criticised?" If he was an undergraduate, or even a graduate student, he would quickly rise to the top of his class. On Exam 1, he receives almost no points.

The second student can't remember case names, and instead just cites to "the case with the X". His outline is atrocious, and looks something like this:

1) promise
2) promissor reasonably expects to induce action/forbearance
3) promisee acts/forbears based on promise
4) injustice can only be avoided by enforcement of the promise

He never reads cases, he never participates in class - in fact, he regularly shows up late, he writes notes in his laptop rather than prestigiously writing down notes by hand, and he is absolutely terrified when all the other students sound a lot more like student 1. In a last ditch attempt to succeed, student 2 gets a copy of a past exam and its model answer three weeks before the final, and spends time trying to replicate the model answer student's answer. Taking practice exams hurts his outlining time, and he ends up with an incomplete outline. Some subject material from the middle of the semester is completely missing.

Student 2 will receive a significantly higher grade in the class than will Student 1.

I like you, please post more often.


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Re: How do I do well in Law School?

Postby quiver » Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:07 pm

Bumping this thread for the new crop of 0Ls. Lots of great info in here and lots of different perspectives.

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