UVA Law 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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vamedic03
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:03 pm

Stringer Bell wrote: it seems like you could have a long exam that's really shitty and a good one that's not long.


^TITCR. Out of curiosity, I went back through my Fall 1L exam answers. My answers ranged from 1600 words (~7 pages) to 4200 words (~17-18 pages). There are two keys to exams: (1) understand what the professor wants and (2) maximize the analysis. Words not spent on analysis (i.e., application of law to fact) are wasted. Some people tend to be more succinct than others. If you're someone who can quickly get in there, identify the issues, and give a great quality analysis in fewer words then you should have shorter exam answers.

Finally, this idea that exam answers across the spectrum look the same is rather suspect for a couple reasons: (a) top performers are generally consistent (i.e., the top 20-25 people in the class are consistently getting far more A's and A-'s than B+'s) and (b) from talking to professors, the difficulty is in the line drawing - i.e., most exam answers clearly fall within a certain category, but it's difficult to draw the line between the categories. Learning to take law school exams is a skill that takes time to learn.

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Doritos
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Doritos » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:52 pm

Morgan12Oak wrote:so to sum up:

size matters, but only if you know how to use it


This applies to life generally

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Gecko of Doom
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Gecko of Doom » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:58 pm

.
Last edited by Gecko of Doom on Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BruceWayne
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby BruceWayne » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:03 pm

Cavalier wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:
paulinaporizkova wrote:sarcasm?

Lol not at all. If their is one thing that I've seen consistently from looking at other students exams and exams that have received the highest grade in the class (teachers will often show these to you after you get your grades back) it's that longer is definitely better. Frankly, I had one teacher show us a short exam that got an A because of how odd that is. He remarked about how it was very unusual for an exam of that length to do so well (it was 10 pages). The guy at the top of our class routinely turns in 25 page exams. There are so few professors that don't care about length that their actually rather noteworthy: see dean Mahoney and Fred Schauer.

People on this site like to talk a lot about "analysis" and "applying law to fact" but to be quite honest, when I've actually looked at a lot of exams everyone is basically saying the same thing. I think it's really hard for professors to differentiate and so a lot of times they do so based simply on length. The people who do best tend to be able to say a lot more and take a borderline "dump everything from my outline" into the exam approach. They'll also do things like answer questions in the alternative on top of answering the question that was asked.

I encourage you to actually look at exams that receive high grades. You'll learn more from that than you will from reading Getting to Maybe or this website.

lol, just lol


Lol I had a professor tell me to my face that you pretty much wouldn't get below a B+ on her exams if you typed up 15 pages or more.

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thesealocust
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:38 pm

I think most people agree that going for length at the very least helps insulate you from below median performance. The evidence seems much less clear that it is (helpful, necessary, etc.) for strong exam performance.

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bertstare
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby bertstare » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:52 pm

Morgan12Oak wrote:First semester last year I didn’t do that well because I tried only talking about stuff that was relevant and I outlined for like 10-15 minutes before my exams. I think I probably averaged like 12 pages per exam. Second semester I studied far less, and talked about anything I could possibly think about and started typing from minute one and averaged like 18-19 pages per exam and my GPA was nearly half a letter higher.


Image

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:44 am

thesealocust wrote:I think most people agree that going for length at the very least helps insulate you from below median performance. The evidence seems much less clear that it is (helpful, necessary, etc.) for strong exam performance.


Yes, this is more or less was I was ultimately trying to say, though I was conveying it in more (unclear) words than necessary. Which is probably why my exams are so long.

barry
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby barry » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:03 am

ReelectClayDavis wrote:
cubbiesyear wrote:Anyone know/care to comment on how easy or difficult it is to get to Chicago/the Midwest from UVA? I was offered 25 a year a couple weeks ago and that's more than I'm going to get at UMich or Chicago (if i even get into the latter) so it's pretty tempting. But I don't want to be barred from my home region.


To balance earlier optimism, I had good (top third) grades, strong midwest ties and struck out in Chicago. I didn't have that many bids there so it wasn't heartbreaking to me so I can't speak to what would have happened if I went all in, but another data point for you. Its a much smaller market than DC or NYC and has lots of good schools in the area, so be careful.


I would say go to UM or Chi if you want the midwest mostly b/c I'm sure they will have more firms from that region at OCI than UVA. UVA only had like 15 chicago firms and most of them were out of my reach grade wise (I was top half with very strong ties), I think if I had gone to UM and had a shot to interview with some of the more regional/ less prestigious chicago firms I would have perhaps had better luck.

albanach
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby albanach » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:04 pm

Morgan12Oak wrote:First semester last year I didn’t do that well because I tried only talking about stuff that was relevant and I outlined for like 10-15 minutes before my exams. I think I probably averaged like 12 pages per exam. Second semester I studied far less, and talked about anything I could possibly think about and started typing from minute one and averaged like 18-19 pages per exam and my GPA was nearly half a letter higher.


I'm curious as to how OGI worked out for you? Obviously the marked improvement would help, but do you think it helped more than if you'd scored quarter point higher both semesters?

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jawsthegreat
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby jawsthegreat » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:19 pm

albanach wrote:
Morgan12Oak wrote:First semester last year I didn’t do that well because I tried only talking about stuff that was relevant and I outlined for like 10-15 minutes before my exams. I think I probably averaged like 12 pages per exam. Second semester I studied far less, and talked about anything I could possibly think about and started typing from minute one and averaged like 18-19 pages per exam and my GPA was nearly half a letter higher.


I'm curious as to how OGI worked out for you? Obviously the marked improvement would help, but do you think it helped more than if you'd scored quarter point higher both semesters?


My GPA dropped. like .35 after first semester, still had a lot of success at OGI. Firms basically only care about your overall GPA, personality, work experience, and other intangibles you may have. Probably in that order.
Last edited by jawsthegreat on Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:21 pm

albanach wrote:
Morgan12Oak wrote:First semester last year I didn’t do that well because I tried only talking about stuff that was relevant and I outlined for like 10-15 minutes before my exams. I think I probably averaged like 12 pages per exam. Second semester I studied far less, and talked about anything I could possibly think about and started typing from minute one and averaged like 18-19 pages per exam and my GPA was nearly half a letter higher.


I'm curious as to how OGI worked out for you? Obviously the marked improvement would help, but do you think it helped more than if you'd scored quarter point higher both semesters?


I know people who had semesters of (top 5%/top 33% = top 15%), (below median/top 5% = top 1/4), and (top 1/4, top 1/4 = top 1/4) (and others similar to these). There was nothing really to indicate me that vast differences in GPA between semesters made much of a difference. Anecdotal to be sure, but I think others would probably back me up in saying that overall GPA >>>>>> any semester split. Any benefit/harm, if any at all, is probably going to be extremely marginal.

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:25 pm

jawsthegreat wrote:
albanach wrote:
Morgan12Oak wrote:First semester last year I didn’t do that well because I tried only talking about stuff that was relevant and I outlined for like 10-15 minutes before my exams. I think I probably averaged like 12 pages per exam. Second semester I studied far less, and talked about anything I could possibly think about and started typing from minute one and averaged like 18-19 pages per exam and my GPA was nearly half a letter higher.


I'm curious as to how OGI worked out for you? Obviously the marked improvement would help, but do you think it helped more than if you'd scored quarter point higher both semesters?


My GPA dropped. like .35 after first semester, still had a lot of success at OGI. Firms basically only care about your overall GPA, personality, work experience, and other intangibles you may have. Probably in that order.


Yeah, pretty much. And then there's the additional step that at the pre-select stage, work experience (which includes relevance, if you had a particularly good summer job aka a firm job that gave you an offer, consistency, etc. -- basically how your resume looks overall) is going to be a bit more important, since there's no ability to grease the wheels with a good personality or drop down because of a bad one at that point.

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jawsthegreat
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby jawsthegreat » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:25 pm

5ky wrote:
albanach wrote:
Morgan12Oak wrote:First semester last year I didn’t do that well because I tried only talking about stuff that was relevant and I outlined for like 10-15 minutes before my exams. I think I probably averaged like 12 pages per exam. Second semester I studied far less, and talked about anything I could possibly think about and started typing from minute one and averaged like 18-19 pages per exam and my GPA was nearly half a letter higher.


I'm curious as to how OGI worked out for you? Obviously the marked improvement would help, but do you think it helped more than if you'd scored quarter point higher both semesters?


I know people who had semesters of (top 5%/top 33% = top 15%), (below median/top 5% = top 1/4), and (top 1/4, top 1/4 = top 1/4) (and others similar to these). There was nothing really to indicate me that vast differences in GPA between semesters made much of a difference. Anecdotal to be sure, but I think others would probably back me up in saying that overall GPA >>>>>> any semester split. Any benefit/harm, if any at all, is probably going to be extremely marginal.


Agreed. I think the only split that could help would be a GPA split of below median/crushing grades. Can sell it as adapting, etc. But conversly I can say from personal experience that a Crushing grades/median split is not going to really affect you, other than the fact that your gpa is lower than it would have been.

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dailygrind
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby dailygrind » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:27 pm

I did significantly better second semester than first and I was only asked about it once, and only in passing. Maybe some interviewers gave extra weight to the second half and didn't tell me about it, but I did not get the impression that anyone was making such fine-grained assessments re: my GPA.

berkeleykel06
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby berkeleykel06 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:45 pm

To add to the anecdotes, I had a drop of close to .3 between semesters but I (to great relief) feel like I was evaluated by my cum GPA.

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YCrevolution
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby YCrevolution » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:25 pm

..

desertlaw
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby desertlaw » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:13 pm

YCrevolution wrote:
berkeleykel06 wrote:To add to the anecdotes, I had a drop of close to .3 between semesters but I (to great relief) feel like I was evaluated by my cum GPA.

I've never had anyone focus on anything but the overall cumulative GPA.



Went from A-'s to B+'s fall to spring 1L, no one really brought it up except one douchey firm. Did the same as other students that I knew with my same top 1/4 grades.

All this aside, when can we start talking about the febclub schedule/parties?

Morgan12Oak
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Morgan12Oak » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:25 pm

albanach wrote:
Morgan12Oak wrote:First semester last year I didn’t do that well because I tried only talking about stuff that was relevant and I outlined for like 10-15 minutes before my exams. I think I probably averaged like 12 pages per exam. Second semester I studied far less, and talked about anything I could possibly think about and started typing from minute one and averaged like 18-19 pages per exam and my GPA was nearly half a letter higher.


I'm curious as to how OGI worked out for you? Obviously the marked improvement would help, but do you think it helped more than if you'd scored quarter point higher both semesters?


I don't think I was treated any differently really because of the grade improvement. It's really hard to tell. It's not something I tried to play up either in interviews. I know some people try to give the whole "Improving from semester 1 to semester 2 shows that I am really good at adapting to situations and learning from mistakes, etc, etc." I did not because personally I don't think it's very convincing.

I also think it's a product of the firms you're looking at. I think if the situation was different like if it was below median/significantly above median of an improvement and you're looking at less selective firms it makes a bigger difference. But, with really selective firms I think they simply go by one number which is cumulative so going from above median to well above median isn't gonna wow them.

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jawsthegreat
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby jawsthegreat » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:53 pm

desertlaw wrote:
YCrevolution wrote:
berkeleykel06 wrote:To add to the anecdotes, I had a drop of close to .3 between semesters but I (to great relief) feel like I was evaluated by my cum GPA.

I've never had anyone focus on anything but the overall cumulative GPA.



Went from A-'s to B+'s fall to spring 1L, no one really brought it up except one douchey firm. Did the same as other students that I knew with my same top 1/4 grades.

All this aside, when can we start talking about the febclub schedule/parties?


Not all of us have finished exams. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

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Doritos
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Doritos » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:19 pm

jawsthegreat wrote:
desertlaw wrote:
YCrevolution wrote:
berkeleykel06 wrote:To add to the anecdotes, I had a drop of close to .3 between semesters but I (to great relief) feel like I was evaluated by my cum GPA.

I've never had anyone focus on anything but the overall cumulative GPA.



Went from A-'s to B+'s fall to spring 1L, no one really brought it up except one douchey firm. Did the same as other students that I knew with my same top 1/4 grades.

All this aside, when can we start talking about the febclub schedule/parties?


Not all of us have finished exams. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU



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bertstare
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby bertstare » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:34 am

jawsthegreat wrote:
desertlaw wrote:
YCrevolution wrote:
berkeleykel06 wrote:To add to the anecdotes, I had a drop of close to .3 between semesters but I (to great relief) feel like I was evaluated by my cum GPA.

I've never had anyone focus on anything but the overall cumulative GPA.



Went from A-'s to B+'s fall to spring 1L, no one really brought it up except one douchey firm. Did the same as other students that I knew with my same top 1/4 grades.

All this aside, when can we start talking about the febclub schedule/parties?


Not all of us have finished exams. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU


Image

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joemoviebuff
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby joemoviebuff » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:36 am

bertstare wrote:
Image


LOL oh man. TLS poster of the year.

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RVP11
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby RVP11 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:41 pm

They don't care about GPA trends because the only thing your GPA really matters for, at most firms, is the ability of the interviewer/recruiter to sell the brand of YOU to the hiring committee.

They're not scouting for people who are going to do the best during 2L.

desertlaw
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby desertlaw » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:43 am

After more ATL stuff, what's the probability we'll get an e-mail from Ballinger/Mahoney/Donovan over the break with warnings and guidelines for proper behavior, especially with FebClub coming up?

005618502
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 005618502 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:43 pm

What is the median GPA, on average? Is it a 3.33 since its a B+ curve?
Last edited by 005618502 on Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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