Penn Students Taking 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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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:42 am

r6_philly wrote:
Veyron wrote:
johnkim1982 wrote:Hi everyone:

Can anyone comment on how rigorous the 1L curriculum is by semester? I'm wondering whether having two electives in the second semester makes things a bit easier (in addition to the familiarity you'd have because of the first semester).

I ask because I might be doing a joint degree at Penn, and the other department's curriculum consists of four courses per semester, meaning that if I substitute one of my 1L electives to take a seminar over there, I'm concerned that I won't be able to devote as much time to that course due to the 1L load.

Thanks!


Since pretty-much any course is less rigorous than a 1L course, that would actually free up your schedule. But you might want to check and see if Penn Law will even allow you to substitute the course at another school for one of the electives, I don't necessarily think they would even if you are working on a joint degree.


The 2 electives in the Spring only meet twice a week (one less meeting per class per week from the Fall). The classes also require a lot less reading. So Spring is a bit easier. But since they are dropping Property, your first semester might be a little less vigorous than we all had.


As for substituting a non-law class, I remember reading about it somewhere in the policies but you have to petition it. Maybe they will let you sub the perspective class, I don't think they would let you not take a regulatory one.

Whattttttt :shock: :shock: :?

r6_philly
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby r6_philly » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:44 am

Georgiana wrote:Whattttttt :shock: :shock: :?


I take you are a property fan?

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:59 am

r6_philly wrote:
Georgiana wrote:Whattttttt :shock: :shock: :?


I take you are a property fan?

Loved property...

But beyond that wtf, property is a pretty basic class that others build on (e.g. T&E, IP) and prof's will always assume you know it... poor choice Penn.

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dabomb75
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby dabomb75 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:15 pm

Georgiana wrote:
r6_philly wrote:
Georgiana wrote:Whattttttt :shock: :shock: :?


I take you are a property fan?

Loved property...

But beyond that wtf, property is a pretty basic class that others build on (e.g. T&E, IP) and prof's will always assume you know it... poor choice Penn.


Dropping property and making Legal Writing a graded class for next year.

I'm sad too since property was my 2nd favorite class this year

HeavenWood
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby HeavenWood » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:21 pm

dabomb75 wrote:
Georgiana wrote:
r6_philly wrote:
Georgiana wrote:Whattttttt :shock: :shock: :?


I take you are a property fan?

Loved property...

But beyond that wtf, property is a pretty basic class that others build on (e.g. T&E, IP) and prof's will always assume you know it... poor choice Penn.


Dropping property and making Legal Writing a graded class for next year.

I'm sad too since property was my 2nd favorite class this year

So they are grading legal writing.

And I believe property will still be an elective.

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:31 pm

HeavenWood wrote:
dabomb75 wrote:Dropping property and making Legal Writing a graded class for next year.

I'm sad too since property was my 2nd favorite class this year

So they are grading legal writing.

And I believe property will still be an elective.

Ugh, graded LW is terrible... will they get rid of 3Ls teaching it then? I can't imagine giving 3L's real grade power.

Everyone take property!

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DonnaDraper
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby DonnaDraper » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:47 pm

:shock: LW graded next year? Say it isn't so! Noooooooooooo

run26.2
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby run26.2 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:02 pm

Graded LRW is a very good idea. It is arguably the most important class many students will take in law school, aside from a clinic. Without a graded LRW, students can get through law school without ever having composed a piece of "legal" (as opposed to academic) writing that at least loosely resembles what they will be doing when they are in practice.

The grade gives the proper incentive to students to put time in to increase the quality of their work product. I can't comment on whether 3Ls should be teaching it. I took legal writing at another school in which legal writing was taught by former practitioners who did a decent job at teaching. But like learning the law in other subjects, you are going to be further ahead if you take ownership for teaching yourself how to write as opposed to relying on others to teach you to do it (not saying this is good, just critiquing the overall approach to legal education).

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:31 pm

run26.2 wrote:Graded LRW is a very good idea. It is arguably the most important class many students will take in law school, aside from a clinic.

I would agree if it weren't so skewed to litigation, especially appellate litigation, which a lot of us never use. If they're going to grade it like a real class, they need to treat it like a real class and have people who know what they're doing teach it (sorry 3Ls, I love you but you've never practiced and can't teach me what lawyers/judges want).

Writing classes are difficult to grade objectively because everyone has a different style, and in order to get a good grade, you conform your style to the teacher, not to some objective "good" writing. You'll do this in practice too. When you write for a partner you find out what the partner wants (bullets? paragraphs? emails? quotes from documents?), its about making it user friendly to the audience, and judges will make up a very small part of the audience for a LOT of graduates in their first several years.

And an anecdote, because I know people love anecdotes: I know someone who took LW at a school who graded it, it was his/her worst grade in all of law school, he/she went on to be EIC of their journal + had their comment published + did a clerkship. I can't say I agree that grades tell you much about your ability to write.

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby r6_philly » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:38 pm

run26.2 wrote:Graded LRW is a very good idea. It is arguably the most important class many students will take in law school, aside from a clinic. Without a graded LRW, students can get through law school without ever having composed a piece of "legal" (as opposed to academic) writing that at least loosely resembles what they will be doing when they are in practice.

The grade gives the proper incentive to students to put time in to increase the quality of their work product. I can't comment on whether 3Ls should be teaching it. I took legal writing at another school in which legal writing was taught by former practitioners who did a decent job at teaching. But like learning the law in other subjects, you are going to be further ahead if you take ownership for teaching yourself how to write as opposed to relying on others to teach you to do it (not saying this is good, just critiquing the overall approach to legal education).


I agree with you. I am treating it as graded though because I want to learn how to write properly for the profession. So then, maybe it isn't necessary, people just need to take it seriously.

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby HeavenWood » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:11 pm

run26.2 wrote:Graded LRW is a very good idea. It is arguably the most important class many students will take in law school, aside from a clinic. Without a graded LRW, students can get through law school without ever having composed a piece of "legal" (as opposed to academic) writing that at least loosely resembles what they will be doing when they are in practice.

The grade gives the proper incentive to students to put time in to increase the quality of their work product. I can't comment on whether 3Ls should be teaching it. I took legal writing at another school in which legal writing was taught by former practitioners who did a decent job at teaching. But like learning the law in other subjects, you are going to be further ahead if you take ownership for teaching yourself how to write as opposed to relying on others to teach you to do it (not saying this is good, just critiquing the overall approach to legal education).

This is probably true in principle, but it's just too easy for legal writing to turn into an all-out time-suck when it is graded, particularly since the only grade you can "directly control." With the ungraded system, most of us, while not LRW fanatics, still put a reasonable amount of time and effort into our work, so we definitely "learn something." Legal writing is also far less of a foreign concept than many TLSers give it credit for. If you enter lawl skool with good writing skills, it won't be terribly difficult to adapt your style to IRAC, or CREAC, or whatever preferred method your school uses.

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Veyron
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Veyron » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:09 pm

1: Few of our other professors are practitioners. The only thing worse than not learning legal writing is learning it wrong. And you undoubtedly do learn it wrong when not instructed by a practitioner. Having an LRW class you can blow off saves you from this.

2: Your summers are the appropriate time to learn what lawyers and judges "really" want from legal writing since you will be writing pieces either FOR judges or FOR lawyers to be submitted to judges.

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JDizzle2015
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby JDizzle2015 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:22 pm

dabomb75 wrote:Dropping property and making Legal Writing a graded class for next year.

As in curved grades? (As opposed to H/P/F.)

run26.2
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby run26.2 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:34 am

Georgiana wrote:
run26.2 wrote:Graded LRW is a very good idea. It is arguably the most important class many students will take in law school, aside from a clinic.

I would agree if it weren't so skewed to litigation, especially appellate litigation, which a lot of us never use. If they're going to grade it like a real class, they need to treat it like a real class and have people who know what they're doing teach it (sorry 3Ls, I love you but you've never practiced and can't teach me what lawyers/judges want).

Writing classes are difficult to grade objectively because everyone has a different style, and in order to get a good grade, you conform your style to the teacher, not to some objective "good" writing. You'll do this in practice too. When you write for a partner you find out what the partner wants (bullets? paragraphs? emails? quotes from documents?), its about making it user friendly to the audience, and judges will make up a very small part of the audience for a LOT of graduates in their first several years.

And an anecdote, because I know people love anecdotes: I know someone who took LW at a school who graded it, it was his/her worst grade in all of law school, he/she went on to be EIC of their journal + had their comment published + did a clerkship. I can't say I agree that grades tell you much about your ability to write.

The first bolded statement is a legitimate critique of my argument, which I did consider. But I still think it is helpful outside of the context of litigation. I would guess transactional lawyers are writing memos to partners on a fairly regular basis.

In response to the second bolded statement, I differentiated between legal writing and academic writing. They are not the same thing and do not necessarily require the same strengths, even if they involve analogous skills. For instance, legal writing involves understanding the form of the product you are producing, which components to include, how to present those components, and a few other things.

You could say that academic writing also involves these same components, but the end is different. In legal writing, you are concerned with laying out all of those components to lead to the inescapable conclusion that your position is correct and your opponents position is incorrect. It is more subjective and normative. That isn't exactly what you are doing in academic writing. There, you are more descriptive and objective, even if you are driving at a particular point.

So some skills will be shared, but not all. And the only way you develop the skill of legal writing, IMO, is to practice. Admittedly, no legal writing program in law school will be perfect (and Penn's may not even be that good in relative terms), but at least it gets the students practicing.

ETA: To the clerkship point, most people don't get a clerkship on the strength of their writing. Most get one on the strength of their grades.
Last edited by run26.2 on Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

run26.2
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby run26.2 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:38 am

Veyron wrote:1: Few of our other professors are practitioners. The only thing worse than not learning legal writing is learning it wrong. And you undoubtedly do learn it wrong when not instructed by a practitioner. Having an LRW class you can blow off saves you from this.

2: Your summers are the appropriate time to learn what lawyers and judges "really" want from legal writing since you will be writing pieces either FOR judges or FOR lawyers to be submitted to judges.

I disagree with this entire post.

r6_philly
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby r6_philly » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:38 am

Geez, I am afraid to write anything when I get to my summer job. :lol:

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Veyron
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Veyron » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:47 am

run26.2 wrote:
Veyron wrote:1: Few of our other professors are practitioners. The only thing worse than not learning legal writing is learning it wrong. And you undoubtedly do learn it wrong when not instructed by a practitioner. Having an LRW class you can blow off saves you from this.

2: Your summers are the appropriate time to learn what lawyers and judges "really" want from legal writing since you will be writing pieces either FOR judges or FOR lawyers to be submitted to judges.

I disagree with this entire post.


You went to a law school where practitioners teach legal writing and if Penn was that school I would agree with you. But Penn's legal writing program is awful and should be de-emphasised as much as possible so that the damage is minimized.

run26.2
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby run26.2 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:54 am

Veyron wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
Veyron wrote:1: Few of our other professors are practitioners. The only thing worse than not learning legal writing is learning it wrong. And you undoubtedly do learn it wrong when not instructed by a practitioner. Having an LRW class you can blow off saves you from this.

2: Your summers are the appropriate time to learn what lawyers and judges "really" want from legal writing since you will be writing pieces either FOR judges or FOR lawyers to be submitted to judges.

I disagree with this entire post.


You went to a law school where practitioners teach legal writing and if Penn was that school I would agree with you. But Penn's legal writing program is awful and should be de-emphasised as much as possible so that the damage is minimized.

At the time, I did not think the practitioners did a particularly good job. And I remember thinking that I had tried to hard to conform to a particular style. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I had to try something to learn what worked and what didn't for me. I have a hard time believing Penn's 3Ls are all that much worse. I know several of them, and the ones that I know have had success in endeavors that make me believe they can probably write quite well.

Whether they can teach is a different story, but, as I mentioned in my earlier post, that problem pervades the entire legal education.

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WhiteGuy5
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby WhiteGuy5 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:14 am

Tagging myself. Carry on.

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Veyron
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Veyron » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:11 am

run26.2 wrote:
Veyron wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
Veyron wrote:1: Few of our other professors are practitioners. The only thing worse than not learning legal writing is learning it wrong. And you undoubtedly do learn it wrong when not instructed by a practitioner. Having an LRW class you can blow off saves you from this.

2: Your summers are the appropriate time to learn what lawyers and judges "really" want from legal writing since you will be writing pieces either FOR judges or FOR lawyers to be submitted to judges.

I disagree with this entire post.


You went to a law school where practitioners teach legal writing and if Penn was that school I would agree with you. But Penn's legal writing program is awful and should be de-emphasised as much as possible so that the damage is minimized.

At the time, I did not think the practitioners did a particularly good job. And I remember thinking that I had tried to hard to conform to a particular style. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I had to try something to learn what worked and what didn't for me. I have a hard time believing Penn's 3Ls are all that much worse. I know several of them, and the ones that I know have had success in endeavors that make me believe they can probably write quite well.

Whether they can teach is a different story, but, as I mentioned in my earlier post, that problem pervades the entire legal education.


You misunderstand me, the 3Ls are quite good. Its the lecturers and curriculum that suck.

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JDizzle2015
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby JDizzle2015 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:21 am

JDizzle2015 wrote:
dabomb75 wrote:Dropping property and making Legal Writing a graded class for next year.

As in curved grades? (As opposed to H/P/F.)

So curved LRW grades. Lame. I heard ungraded LRW is good enough reason to choose one school over another, all else equal. Would some of you agree?

r6_philly
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby r6_philly » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:35 am

JDizzle2015 wrote:
JDizzle2015 wrote:
dabomb75 wrote:Dropping property and making Legal Writing a graded class for next year.

As in curved grades? (As opposed to H/P/F.)

So curved LRW grades. Lame. I heard ungraded LRW is good enough reason to choose one school over another, all else equal. Would some of you agree?


I would actually choose a graded LRW over an ungraded one. So long you want to put forth the effort to get a good grade. If you are going with the the "pass/fail" thing all fall semester, it's really hard to come up with a good writing sample to apply to jobs.

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Georgiana
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Georgiana » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:05 pm

run26.2 wrote:The first bolded statement is a legitimate critique of my argument, which I did consider. But I still think it is helpful outside of the context of litigation. I would guess transactional lawyers are writing memos to partners on a fairly regular basis.

Just a minor reply to the bolded: definitely not writing many memos to partners (most research questions, and I do way more than most corporate associates given the area I work in, are either discussed in person or communicated through email with as little detail as needed), though I guess its about as useful as crim, torts, and civ pro so there's an argument for grading it.

I'm never really going to agree that grading writing is a good idea, but thats not to say I don't think writing is important. I took another writing class for that purpose as a 3L (with a transactional slant since I knew I would be going transactional at the firm), and the professor was surprised that the school was making him give grades instead of just doing it pass-fail. He basically said as long as you try you won't get lower than X grade since writing is so hard to grade in those terms. It should more about encouraging improvement and practice than about grades.
Last edited by Georgiana on Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

clee33
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby clee33 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:23 pm

Hey guys, are you hearing that lw is going to be graded from someone on the inside? Can't find anything on the admitted students website or the packet or elsewhere on line that this change is being made. Would be nice if they have us a heads up.

iamrobk
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby iamrobk » Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:51 pm

clee33 wrote:Hey guys, are you hearing that lw is going to be graded from someone on the inside? Can't find anything on the admitted students website or the packet or elsewhere on line that this change is being made. Would be nice if they have us a heads up.

Yeah, curious about this myself, since all the information they've given out (and have online) has the "old" curriculum information. I'm tempted to email someone and ask if they know what's going on.




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