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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thesealocust
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Thu May 30, 2013 4:45 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:1. How do you submit December 1 applicants for 1L summer positions without driving yourself insane?
2. Advantages/disadvantages of J-term courses?
3. If most exams are open-note, does anyone have a good strategy for organizing their notes/outlines so that it's easily accessible?
4. How fast does one's typing speed have to be? I tend to think of myself as a pretty fast typer, but the type A kids I knew in college were doing 130+ WPM. Is it that insane, or will basic proficiency suffice?


1. Law school takes more neurotic energy than time. It won't be hard to send out applications around then, and if you don't you'll still get something so no worries.

2. They're nice to fulfill credits. I wouldn't as a 1L, the rest is probably more valuable. Not much of an issue from a grades/gamesmanship point of view, too small of an impact.

3. Nearly all exams are open note. You'll make an outline and spend the semester figuring out what works best for you.

4. Doesn't matter. Some will disagree. The most important thing is how fast you think, recall, and analyze - a pitiful typist could write a comprehensive and stellar exam if they aren't constantly lost, searching through notes, etc. Some exams even have word limits that work out to more like a hundred words an hour rather than a hundred words per minute.

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seahawk32
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby seahawk32 » Thu May 30, 2013 5:00 pm

thesealocust: never not posting.

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anon sequitur
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby anon sequitur » Thu May 30, 2013 7:03 pm

seahawk32 wrote:thesealocust: never not posting.


Not enough as far as I'm concerned.

albanach
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby albanach » Thu May 30, 2013 10:01 pm

thesealocust wrote:
2. They're nice to fulfill credits. I wouldn't as a 1L, the rest is probably more valuable. Not much of an issue from a grades/gamesmanship point of view, too small of an impact.


I've enjoyed both my J-term courses and would highly recommend them. There are plenty of topics that are interesting but which you wouldn't want to devote more than a week to. I'd make sure that if you're taking one it has an exam rather than a paper. Exams are typically 1-2 hours, an I feel papers are a lot more work.

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Thu May 30, 2013 10:03 pm

albanach wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
2. They're nice to fulfill credits. I wouldn't as a 1L, the rest is probably more valuable. Not much of an issue from a grades/gamesmanship point of view, too small of an impact.


I've enjoyed both my J-term courses and would highly recommend them. There are plenty of topics that are interesting but which you wouldn't want to devote more than a week to. I'd make sure that if you're taking one it has an exam rather than a paper. Exams are typically 1-2 hours, an I feel papers are a lot more work.


Just do take class with response papers bro

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Thu May 30, 2013 10:45 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
bananapeanutbutter wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
bananapeanutbutter wrote:Over 30 percent is b/w a 3.3 and 3.48.


Okay, I'm now confused.

dixon02 wrote: Agreed, with one small caveat. Only two reasons to do MB. First is if it gets you out of cite checks. Even then, it might not be worth it depending on the amount of work that comes with the position. The second is that if you want to clerk and have the grades where it might be possible (hard to know at this point, but you probably want to be over the 3.48 top 25% cutoff at a minimum), then there might be some value in it. There's no good reason to think about EIC. It's a lot of work with no payoff.


That was my sourcing for the 3.48 25% number, and it was also mentioned earlier ITT as "the historical number" for 25%, although that post is a few years old. If 3.48 were the 25% cutoff, there's no way you could have 30% between 3.3 and 3.48 unless the "between" was included in the set AND there was heavy, heavy bunching at 3.48. Can someone shed light on this?

3.3 isn't the 50th percentile. It's the median, which is roughly 2/3 of any 1 class. The 50th percentile is a little higher, and 3.48 is top 25% so a huge amount of people fall b/w a 3.2 and 3.5. I'm just curious on the finer distinctions between that 3.5 and 3.7.


The 50th percentile can't possibly be higher than the median--they're the same thing.

Person 1: 3.8
Person 2: 3.7
Person 3: 3.6
Person 4: 3.5
Person 5: 3.45
Person 6: 3.4
Person 7: 3.3
Person 8: 3.25
Person 9: 3.2
Person 10: 3.1

There are a lot more 3.8's than there are 2.8's. The median is a 3.3. In every class, about 2/3 gets a B+ or better. Often 3/4 because half gets a B+.

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Thu May 30, 2013 10:58 pm

bananapeanutbutter wrote:There are a lot more 3.8's than there are 2.8's. The median is a 3.3. In every class, about 2/3 gets a B+ or better. Often 3/4 because half gets a B+.


I don't care at all about this, but I'll note also that if you say 2/3 gets a B+ or better, you have to note that 2/3 of a class gets a B+ or worse, too.

I am fairly confident that the overall GPA median is roughly around a 3.3, and is the 50th percentile. The median is the 50th percentile, that's the definition of a median.
Last edited by 5ky on Thu May 30, 2013 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Thu May 30, 2013 11:04 pm

5ky wrote:
bananapeanutbutter wrote:There are a lot more 3.8's than there are 2.8's. The median is a 3.3. In every class, about 2/3 gets a B+ or better. Often 3/4 because half gets a B+.


I don't care at all about this, but I'll note also that if you say 2/3 gets a B+ or better, you have to note that 2/3 of a class gets a B+ or worse, too.

That is true. It is a dumb system, because the professors never really teach you how to do an exam and barely say what they are expecting. Some people guess right, and some people don't. I don't think guessing should dictate your future, and I say this as someone who got fortunate with the system. However, if I knew what they wanted I'd probably have the same grades mostly but would have given them a better product as would everyone else.

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thesealocust
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby thesealocust » Thu May 30, 2013 11:17 pm

bananapeanutbutter wrote:
5ky wrote:
bananapeanutbutter wrote:There are a lot more 3.8's than there are 2.8's. The median is a 3.3. In every class, about 2/3 gets a B+ or better. Often 3/4 because half gets a B+.


I don't care at all about this, but I'll note also that if you say 2/3 gets a B+ or better, you have to note that 2/3 of a class gets a B+ or worse, too.

That is true. It is a dumb system, because the professors never really teach you how to do an exam and barely say what they are expecting. Some people guess right, and some people don't. I don't think guessing should dictate your future, and I say this as someone who got fortunate with the system. However, if I knew what they wanted I'd probably have the same grades mostly but would have given them a better product as would everyone else.


Welcome to UVA Law Thunderdome? It's like this everywhere else too. I've never figured out why, but the legal profession either ignores the concept of training or else puts a high value on figuring shit out yourself.

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Br3v
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Br3v » Thu May 30, 2013 11:27 pm

What's a J term?

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Thu May 30, 2013 11:32 pm

Br3v wrote:What's a J term?


One week classes in January between semesters. Usually 1 credit

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Br3v
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Br3v » Thu May 30, 2013 11:34 pm

5ky wrote:
Br3v wrote:What's a J term?


One week classes in January between semesters. Usually 1 credit


It lasts 1 week or its once a week throughout January?

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Thu May 30, 2013 11:37 pm

Br3v wrote:
5ky wrote:
Br3v wrote:What's a J term?


One week classes in January between semesters. Usually 1 credit


It lasts 1 week or its once a week throughout January?


e.g. --LinkRemoved--

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Br3v
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Br3v » Thu May 30, 2013 11:41 pm

5ky wrote:
Br3v wrote:
5ky wrote:
Br3v wrote:What's a J term?


One week classes in January between semesters. Usually 1 credit


It lasts 1 week or its once a week throughout January?


e.g. --LinkRemoved--


thanks

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Thu May 30, 2013 11:54 pm

thesealocust wrote:
bananapeanutbutter wrote:
5ky wrote:
bananapeanutbutter wrote:There are a lot more 3.8's than there are 2.8's. The median is a 3.3. In every class, about 2/3 gets a B+ or better. Often 3/4 because half gets a B+.


I don't care at all about this, but I'll note also that if you say 2/3 gets a B+ or better, you have to note that 2/3 of a class gets a B+ or worse, too.

That is true. It is a dumb system, because the professors never really teach you how to do an exam and barely say what they are expecting. Some people guess right, and some people don't. I don't think guessing should dictate your future, and I say this as someone who got fortunate with the system. However, if I knew what they wanted I'd probably have the same grades mostly but would have given them a better product as would everyone else.


Welcome to UVA Law Thunderdome? It's like this everywhere else too. I've never figured out why, but the legal profession either ignores the concept of training or else puts a high value on figuring shit out yourself.

I'm not saying it's any different. I just think it's odd. I can see learn on your own or fall in learning the substantive material, but when they don't give you practice tests, there's no practice. The gunnery people get exams online from other schools, but I can't imagine the plan is to favor people who go to Georgetown Law's database.

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TrialLawyer16
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby TrialLawyer16 » Fri May 31, 2013 12:24 am

bananapeanutbutter wrote:3.3 isn't the 50th percentile. It's the median, which is roughly 2/3 of any 1 class. The 50th percentile is a little higher, and 3.48 is top 25% so a huge amount of people fall b/w a 3.2 and 3.5. I'm just curious on the finer distinctions between that 3.5 and 3.7.

You do understand that you just said that the 50th percentile is higher than 2/3 (66.7th percentile) of the class, right?

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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Fri May 31, 2013 12:33 am

TrialLawyer16 wrote:
bananapeanutbutter wrote:3.3 isn't the 50th percentile. It's the median, which is roughly 2/3 of any 1 class. The 50th percentile is a little higher, and 3.48 is top 25% so a huge amount of people fall b/w a 3.2 and 3.5. I'm just curious on the finer distinctions between that 3.5 and 3.7.

You do understand that you just said that the 50th percentile is higher than 2/3 (66.7th percentile) of the class, right?

well the difference between an A- and a B+ is bigger than a B and a B+ by .1 so overall, the average gpa is higher than a 3.3. There are virtually no C+'s and A+'s to even it out (1-2 a whole term?), but there are plenty of B's and plenty of A-'s.

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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby sprezz » Fri May 31, 2013 1:42 am

bananapeanutbutter wrote:
TrialLawyer16 wrote:
bananapeanutbutter wrote:3.3 isn't the 50th percentile. It's the median, which is roughly 2/3 of any 1 class. The 50th percentile is a little higher, and 3.48 is top 25% so a huge amount of people fall b/w a 3.2 and 3.5. I'm just curious on the finer distinctions between that 3.5 and 3.7.

You do understand that you just said that the 50th percentile is higher than 2/3 (66.7th percentile) of the class, right?

well the difference between an A- and a B+ is bigger than a B and a B+ by .1 so overall, the average gpa is higher than a 3.3. There are virtually no C+'s and A+'s to even it out (1-2 a whole term?), but there are plenty of B's and plenty of A-'s.


this doesn't matter. the mean grade requirement accounts for the discrepancy between -.3 and +.4 because it's a mean requirement instead of a median one. teachers that only give a-/b+/b can't just go 10/11/10, in a 31 person class; that would work for a median requirement but not a mean one. here that mean would be 3.33--too high. a 9/10/12 distribution would yield a mean of 3.3. so those extra b's bouncing around relative to a-'s nullify the difference between -.3 and +.4...there are more -.3's, so the overall distribution is normal despite the fact that an individual getting an a- and a b over a sample of two classes may be a touch above median.

so, yeah. 3.3=50%ile.

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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Fri May 31, 2013 7:22 am

The mean GPA, by definition, has to be 3.3 because of the requirement imposed. It just happens that most professors happen to grade relatively symmetrically, so the median approximates the mean. But this isn't necessarily required. Imagine if a professor has a 30-person class and gives 21 Bs and 9As. The professor still conforms with the 3.3 mean requirement, but the median in this instance is a 3.0. The median GPA could be anything, depending on how professors grade. It just happens to have historically been 3.3 because grading has approximated normal distributions.

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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Fri May 31, 2013 7:32 am

And on the subject of online exams: It seems like a lot of 1Ls get screwed even though they understand the material and its application because they don't know how to take exams. Where do you find the best ones? How far in the semester would you recommend taking them?

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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby Wahoos » Fri May 31, 2013 7:56 am

bananapeanutbutter wrote:I'm not saying it's any different. I just think it's odd. I can see learn on your own or fall in learning the substantive material, but when they don't give you practice tests, there's no practice. The gunnery people get exams online from other schools, but I can't imagine the plan is to favor people who go to Georgetown Law's database.



Disagree with this. My own experience is that the 'gunnery' people who do stuff like this end up doing no better than others. It's not a 1 to 1 output ratio for the work you put in and the grades you receive. I know that might sound terrifying to the common law school personality types who think they can work the hardest and do the best, but it's just the way it is

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chem
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby chem » Fri May 31, 2013 7:58 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:And on the subject of online exams: It seems like a lot of 1Ls get screwed even though they understand the material and its application because they don't know how to take exams. Where do you find the best ones? How far in the semester would you recommend taking them?


All 1L sections are paired with around five older students who will answer and give general tips on the topics of the last 3 pages of questions. Yall can calm down if you want

But generally, professors make them available halfway through the semester, but you shouldn't take them until after thanksgiving

In my experience though, lots of people don't know the material as well as they should

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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby StanleyF » Fri May 31, 2013 8:58 am

chem wrote: In my experience though, lots of people don't know the material as well as they should


This is true.

And while I know this post will be the equivalent of whispering in a wind storm, I offer this to all the 0Ls who are already worrying about grade distributions, summer jobs, and pre-law school prep: Stop. Just stop. Go to a movie, a concert, take a road trip, go see some friends you haven't seen in a while.

First year of law school is an ordeal by design. For many, the hardest part is adjusting to a new way of learning while getting zero feedback on how well they are doing. You will spend the first semester working your ass off, and you will have no idea if you are good or bad at law school until you get your exam grades back in January or February. That's just the way it is, and it is that way for everyone. This makes people panic and search wildly for reassuring data points. But there is no way to prepare for 1L or to accurately predict how well you will do. Any preparation would be done in the exact same vacuum that you will live in for the first semester. You can read "Getting to Maybe" if you want to, but I read that book and didn't understand a fucking word of it because I had never taken a law school class or exam and so had no way to understand what they were talking about.

The most important thing is to actually work your ass off in your first year. Read every assignment, go to every class, make your own outlines for exams, take all the practice exams the professor makes available. If you do this, you will be maxing out your efforts and thus putting yourself in the best position to do as well as you can. That's what you owe to yourself. The reality is that the best you can do may be top 10 percent, or median, or below median. But where you fall on that curve doesn't signify how intelligent you are (everybody at UVa killed the LSAT, rocked their undergrad, and can be described as an intelligent person), it signifies how good you are at law school compared to your classmates.

Yes, grades are the most important data point to most employers, but that's just because it's the only data point they are given for every candidate. You can help your job prospects by doing pro bono work in school (especially anything that requires a talent you need as a lawyer, like writing or dealing with clients), and by getting a job over the summer that involves legal work. But so long as that job involves any kind of legal work, it will look good on a resume. Don't get wrapped up in what job is "better" or "worse" than any other.

Sorry to drone on so long. I guess my message could be condensed to this: 1L is hard, and there is no way to make it easy or to game the system. So work as hard as you can to give yourself the best chance to succeed.

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5ky
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby 5ky » Fri May 31, 2013 9:09 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:The mean GPA, by definition, has to be 3.3 because of the requirement imposed. It just happens that most professors happen to grade relatively symmetrically, so the median approximates the mean. But this isn't necessarily required. Imagine if a professor has a 30-person class and gives 21 Bs and 9As. The professor still conforms with the 3.3 mean requirement, but the median in this instance is a 3.0. The median GPA could be anything, depending on how professors grade. It just happens to have historically been 3.3 because grading has approximated normal distributions.


The mean does not have to be 3.3. It has to be between 3.25 and 3.35, outside of the new special circumstances and some seminars.

And-

StanleyF wrote: And while I know this post will be the equivalent of whispering in a wind storm, I offer this to all the 0Ls who are already worrying about grade distributions, summer jobs, and pre-law school prep: Stop. Just stop. Go to a movie, a concert, take a road trip, go see some friends you haven't seen in a while.

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: UVA Law Students Taking Questions

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Fri May 31, 2013 9:20 am

Wahoos wrote:
bananapeanutbutter wrote:I'm not saying it's any different. I just think it's odd. I can see learn on your own or fall in learning the substantive material, but when they don't give you practice tests, there's no practice. The gunnery people get exams online from other schools, but I can't imagine the plan is to favor people who go to Georgetown Law's database.



Disagree with this. My own experience is that the 'gunnery' people who do stuff like this end up doing no better than others. It's not a 1 to 1 output ratio for the work you put in and the grades you receive. I know that might sound terrifying to the common law school personality types who think they can work the hardest and do the best, but it's just the way it is

My experience is that people who study to apply, and specifically for the exam do well.

The 1 piece of advice I'd say to people as a non-genius regular guy who did very well is to try to read the crap not worrying about memorizing the random facts your professors focus on, but just understanding why the court ruled the way it did with that specific set of facts and what kinds of facts or circumstances would have led to them ruling differently. This is how you bring cases into the exam, and the only context in which they're going to matter.

General test books won't help. I didn't know what IRAC was until November, and practically got laughed out of the room, only to do better than like 90% of the people laughing at me.




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