Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

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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Objection
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby Objection » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:01 pm

*peeks up from Torts E&E*

What? Me? Gunning? No way!

Disclaimer: jk.

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Objection
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby Objection » Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:37 pm

New question:

Which classes do you take in 1L Fall and which do you take in 1L Spring?

The binder isn't very specific.

It mentions the first year requires semester-long courses in:

Civ Pro
Contracts
Torts
Crim
Property
LegReg
International Law

+ the year long LRW.

+ 1 elective in Spring 1L.

So which of those 7 are in the fall and which are in the spring? Does it depend on what section you get put in?

jumpjumpjump
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby jumpjumpjump » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:25 pm

it depends on what section you're in. however, everyone has international law in the spring, and it's not with your section (you get to pick from a few different IL classes).

mmmmm
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby mmmmm » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:11 pm

Can you tell us about the quality of teaching? How many of your professors have been fantastically engaging vs. okay vs. terrible? I really want to know whether lectures tend to be interesting or not.

Thanks!

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Objection
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby Objection » Fri Mar 27, 2009 2:46 am

Is it possible for a student to initiate the creation of a clinic, or is the best they can do a Student Practice Organization?

HRPHMP
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby HRPHMP » Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:00 pm

Would you suggest getting a PC or a Mac?

stupid33
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby stupid33 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:52 pm

It is possible for students to come up with their own clinics. But this is only for 2Ls and 3Ls, and I believe are for-credit. The Student Practice Organizations are available to all students (including 1Ls) and are not for credit (with the exception of the Legal Aid Bureau which requires a 2-year commitment during 2L and 3L years, and I believe is for-credit). If you are interested in getting some hands-on experience during your 1L year, I highly recommend the Student Practice Organizations.

Students use both Macs and PCs here - I think the split is pretty even. I can't think of any software we need in law school that uses only one of the operating system. I think there's a trend toward more Macs these days (I know of many students who switched from PCs to Macs, but none who have switched from Macs to PCs). The law school has several programs that you can download for free, such as Word, and are available to both PCs and Macs.

jakelaw
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby jakelaw » Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:12 am

Do you know any 2L that wanted biglaw this summer that didn't get it?

stupid33
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby stupid33 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:08 am

I don't know any 2L who wanted a biglaw and didn't get it.

The teaching quality here is amazing. Dean Kagan has done an amazing job recruiting some of the best professors to come to HLS, and I am confident that this trend will continue even though she has left to serve as Solicitor General.

Out of the 8 professors (not including LRW) that I've had this year, I would say 3 have been AMAZING (the 3 best professors I have ever had), 3 have been much-above average, 1 has been interesting and quirky (he taught in a way that was different from my personal learning style, so some adjustment was required), and 1 was on the boring side (but to be fair, he was teaching a dull subject - Civil Procedure).

So overall, I would have to say my professors have been fantastically engaging.

HAZMAT
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby HAZMAT » Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:11 am

How important do you find study groups to be or don't you feel they're important to be successful. Also, any comments/thoughts about the new grading system? Thanks.

stupid33
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby stupid33 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:02 pm

I don't think study groups are necessary to do well in law school. But I think it mostly depends on how you typically study. Throughout college and high school, I have mostly been a study-by-myself type person, and that has worked well for me in law school. I know some friends who are in study groups and that has worked well for them. I would say, do what you're more comfortable doing. However, even if you don't form a "formal" study group, it is definitely useful to bounce ideas around with friends. Also, it can be useful to just get together with a group of your peers to go over topics and practice tests prior to exams. Explaining concepts to each other and going over practice exams can really help solidify your own understanding and see arguments from different perspectives.

The new grading system: It's hard for me to compare it to anything else, since it is the only thing I have experienced. I have no complaints, and I don't think any of my peers do either. I feel that there may be less competition because most students will likely at least at a P (which is a B, basically) - no more striving for the + after the grade. I've heard that the new grading system may mean that employers may focus more on extracurriculars and things outside the transcript. This may or may not be true. I don't know of anyone who has trouble getting a job for the summer though. Overall, I think students and faculty are happy with the new grading system and view it as less arbitrary than when there were +'s and -'s. But this is just my opinion.

By the way, feel free to post more questions. This forum helped me a lot last year when I was picking schools, and I'd be happy to help others out.

SouthernElle
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby SouthernElle » Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:12 pm

sweet, thanks for answering questions!

Are most of your professors really socratic?

Also, how do you feel about the atmosphere? During the ASW, I didn't get much contact with real students (since there were like 200 of us running around, or something ridiculous) and I don't feel like I got a good sense of whether students were stressed/competitive/the usual bad stereotypes. I know it's supposed to be hard work, but are most people generally happy?

thanks so much! :)

stupid33
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby stupid33 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:11 pm

SouthernElle wrote:sweet, thanks for answering questions!

Are most of your professors really socratic?

Also, how do you feel about the atmosphere? During the ASW, I didn't get much contact with real students (since there were like 200 of us running around, or something ridiculous) and I don't feel like I got a good sense of whether students were stressed/competitive/the usual bad stereotypes. I know it's supposed to be hard work, but are most people generally happy?

thanks so much! :)


Depends on your definition of socratic. All my professors ask students questions, but their styles are very different. These are some of the types of "socratic" that I have experienced.

- Professor asks a few (under 8) students questions per class. Each student generally works with the professor on a hypo or on the facts of the case etc, which means that the student will be answering a number of questions from the professor. The student typically is engaged in dialogue with the professor for about 5 mins. (student called on is random)
- Professor asks about 10-15 students questions per class. Each student answers 1-2 questions. (student called on is random)
- Professor calls on virtually every single student in one class. But answers are typically short one-liners. (order called on is random)
- Professor calls on student based on seating chart (i.e., you will be called on after the person sitting next to you gets called on). This allows you to prepare a bit more, since you basically will have a good idea about when you'll be called on. In this format, some professors engage in long dialogues with a student (i.e., in 1 class will call on about 5 students), or will ask questions with shorter answers thus calling on more students.

But in general, all the professors I have had call on students, so in that sense they are Socratic. When I first came to law school, I was pretty anxious about the Socratic method. It's honestly not that bad though...everyone says something funny at some point, and no one remembers when others "mess up." And professors for the most part are really easygoing and don't force you to answer a question you don't know the answer to. I've heard that upper-level classes are significantly less Socratic.

I was a bit concerned about the atmosphere before I arrived. I didn't get a chance to attend ASW before I chose to come here. It is definitely hard work, but I've felt that the stressed/competitive stereotypes are definitely hyped up. Students work hard, but definitely know how to have fun, and relax too. I think most people are very happy here. I definitely am. (And judging from the fact that I have time to post on forums here, you can probably tell how much work I have!) :D

1004LSAT
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby 1004LSAT » Sat Apr 11, 2009 11:40 pm

Thanks again for your insights Stupid. It's really been helpful.

What is a typical daily schedule like? Do you have any night classes? Are there large breaks between classes?

I hate to beat a dead horse, but about the grading system -- is it true that each professor must give out a certain number of low passes? If so, do you know what the percentage is? Are you personally going to feel the need to distinguish yourself in other ways due to the new h/p/lp/f system?

sluggo
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby sluggo » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:39 am

To any of the 1L's:

Do you, or does anyone you know, live in Terry Terrace? How about other affiliated apartments nearby. I'm specifically interested in TT and wonder how it compares to other (more expensive) off campus options nearby. I was considering a place a few blocks north of the school for 1750/mo but would like to get TT (its cheaper) as long as it's reasonably nice. Does it, for example, have a dishwasher in some units? The one i saw didn't.

stupid33
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby stupid33 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:21 pm

1004LSAT wrote:Thanks again for your insights Stupid. It's really been helpful.

What is a typical daily schedule like? Do you have any night classes? Are there large breaks between classes?

I hate to beat a dead horse, but about the grading system -- is it true that each professor must give out a certain number of low passes? If so, do you know what the percentage is? Are you personally going to feel the need to distinguish yourself in other ways due to the new h/p/lp/f system?


My daily schedule is not too bad right now. As a 1L, all your classes in the fall are picked for you, and you take them with your section. There are about 18 hours of class in the fall, and between 16-18 hours of classes in the spring. I think all 1Ls have classes Mondays-Fridays. The classes are either 1hr 15mins (meeting three times a week) or 2hours long (meeting twice a week). For me personally, I have only afternoon classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and late morning and early afternoon classes on Thursday and Friday. No evening classes (I believe only upper-level classes meet during the evening, i.e. until 7pm).

I have a couple breaks between classes, ranging from 15 minutes to 1 hour. There are no classes between 12-1 (for lunch), so if you have a morning class and then an afternoon class, you will definitely at least have a 1hour break in between. (If you check on the HLS website, I believe there is a Block Schedule chart where you can get a better idea of how the class schedules are organized.)

During 2L year, you have all the flexibility in choosing which classes you want to take and to arrange your schedule accordingly. As such, you could probably schedule to have all your classes meet on only 3 days of the week. Also, if you choose to participate in clinics 2L and/or 3L year, these take up more time (but are supposed to be great experience).

Grading system: In general, it's still a bit cryptic to us. We haven't been told for sure that each professor must give out a certain number of certain grades. I'm guessing it's likely that they do, but that is my personal opinion. I also think that if there is such a requirement, the requirement goes away for classes of smaller sizes (i.e. upper level classes with fewer students). In some ways I do feel like I need to distinguish myself a bit more in other ways, but this is where journals, student practice organizations, summer experience come into play. I don't think it'll be hard to distinguish ourselves at all. The law school has (I think ) 14 different journals, a number of student practice organizations that you can join, and these experiences can definitely help. Overall, I think the new grading system is working well.
sluggo wrote:To any of the 1L's:

Do you, or does anyone you know, live in Terry Terrace? How about other affiliated apartments nearby. I'm specifically interested in TT and wonder how it compares to other (more expensive) off campus options nearby. I was considering a place a few blocks north of the school for 1750/mo but would like to get TT (its cheaper) as long as it's reasonably nice. Does it, for example, have a dishwasher in some units? The one i saw didn't.


Sorry I don't know anyone who lives in Terry Terrace. I live off campus, and it's been great so far! It's nice to get away from "law" every once in a while. Anyone live in an affiliated apartment want to chime in?

turkfish
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby turkfish » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:40 pm

1004LSAT wrote:I hate to beat a dead horse, but about the grading system -- is it true that each professor must give out a certain number of low passes? If so, do you know what the percentage is? Are you personally going to feel the need to distinguish yourself in other ways due to the new h/p/lp/f system?

I've heard several profs say there is a mandatory curve. The rough breakdown on percentages correlates pretty well to A- and up being an H, B+/B being a P, and B- and below being an LP. This comes out to about 35% H, 55% P, 10% LP.

I'm personally involved with other stuff around campus but I think people tend to over-emphasize the "no grades" thing. We still have clear grades, it's just we have less of them. The people with all H's are going to be the ones with the best opportunities, and people with multiple LPs are going to be treated just like people with multiple B-'s and C+'s. Maybe it's harder to distinguish people in the middle of the class, and for those people secondary journals and student practice orgs might be useful, but it's probably even easier under the "no grades" system than the old system to figure out who's at the top or bottom of the class (count H's or LP's). The ONLY way the grade change affects things from my point of view is that instead of gunning for an A I'm gunning for an A-.

HAZMAT
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby HAZMAT » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:06 pm

Another thanks for your insights guys :lol: Do you know how people are divided into their sections or are they placed in sections randomly?

How often do people actually make fools of themselves when called on in class? In follow-up to that question, is it embarrassing when you don't know the answer -- do you feel like people are judging you as being stupid?

stupid33
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby stupid33 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:25 pm

The sections are divided up entirely randomly (at least to my knowledge).

I've never thought that someone made a fool of themselves in class, but I certainly felt like I've given some pretty uninsightful answers. I don't really get the vibe that people are judging me. If you haven't done the reading, professors can understand that (as long as it doesn't happen too often). The first couple times I was called on (back in the fall), I thought that everyone was paying very close attention to every word I was saying...but in reality, people don't really remember who said what in class, and the professors will help you along if you're stuck. (Getting called on in class was one of my fears about law school...just based on watching Paper Chase, reading One L etc. but once you've gotten called on a couple times, it's much less intimidating.)

HAZMAT
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby HAZMAT » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:27 pm

deleted
Last edited by HAZMAT on Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

HAZMAT
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby HAZMAT » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:30 pm

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=48657&start=950

Either of you 1L's care to take a stab at commenting on some of the remarks made by Zabagabe, Totalidiot or Objection?

HAZMAT
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby HAZMAT » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:06 am

Is class participation calculated into grades or are grades strictly based on exams?

stupid33
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby stupid33 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:22 am

At least for classes with >30 students, I don't think class participation is calculated in the grade (with the exception of LRW, where it's approx 5%).
Not sure for classes with 30 or fewer students though.

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iagolives
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby iagolives » Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:34 am

stupid33 wrote:At least for classes with >30 students, I don't think class participation is calculated in the grade (with the exception of LRW, where it's approx 5%).
Not sure for classes with 30 or fewer students though.


I hope it doesn't count. While it's usually an easy way to get points, I've found that there is no easier way to condemn a class discussion to inanity than requiring people to participate when they don't feel the draw to.

stupid33
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Re: Ask a Harvard 1L Questions

Postby stupid33 » Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:57 am

In the one upper-level class that I have taken, it doesn't count.




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