Stanford 1L 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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crackberry
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby crackberry » Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:31 pm

What's the deal with SLS moving to quarters? I know the rest of the university has been on quarters forever and that the law school recently decided to adopt the rest of the university's academic calendar, but has it started? As a Stanford UG, I didn't have to be on campus until Sept. 20 or something, but doesn't SLS start earlier? I'll stop rambling; I have a couple questions:

- When does the academic year begin/end? I can't find the 2010-2011 academic calendar online.
- How do 1L classes work with the quarter system? Are there three sets of exams?

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ndnlawdc
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby ndnlawdc » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:16 pm

crackberry wrote:What's the deal with SLS moving to quarters? I know the rest of the university has been on quarters forever and that the law school recently decided to adopt the rest of the university's academic calendar, but has it started? As a Stanford UG, I didn't have to be on campus until Sept. 20 or something, but doesn't SLS start earlier? I'll stop rambling; I have a couple questions:

- When does the academic year begin/end? I can't find the 2010-2011 academic calendar online.
- How do 1L classes work with the quarter system? Are there three sets of exams?


The quarter system is annoying. I can see the theoretical benefits, but I'm not sure how much it will practically benefit me (and many other law students). The best part is that we can take more classes over three years -- thereby gaining more exposure to different areas of law. We also can do clinics full-time, without any other classes to worry about. I guess those are substantial benefits, but the annoyance is pretty decent too. If you're into taking classes in other parts of the university (especially the GSB), the quarter system is also beneficial. On the downside, the White House Internship is practically unavailable to SLS kids this summer, and I've found some resistance from potential summer employers.

The academic year is roughly the same as that of the rest of the university. 1Ls (this year) started early, making it more like one semester plus two quarters. There are three sets of exams, one for each quarter.

1Ls take Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Legal Research and Writing, and Criminal Law in the fall quarter. We take a shortened "Constitutional Law 1" course in the winter quarter, along with Property. In the spring quarter, there's an optional "Constitutional Law 2" (on the whole, covering more than a semester of constitutional law). Over both winter and spring, there's a "Federal Litigation" course which is a form of LRW that focuses on the Federal litigation process, ending in late April or early May. You can take one elective in the winter, and the spring quarter is all elective.

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crackberry
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby crackberry » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:24 pm

ndnlawdc wrote:The quarter system is annoying. I can see the theoretical benefits, but I'm not sure how much it will practically benefit me (and many other law students). The best part is that we can take more classes over three years -- thereby gaining more exposure to different areas of law. We also can do clinics full-time, without any other classes to worry about. I guess those are substantial benefits, but the annoyance is pretty decent too. If you're into taking classes in other parts of the university (especially the GSB), the quarter system is also beneficial. On the downside, the White House Internship is practically unavailable to SLS kids this summer, and I've found some resistance from potential summer employers.

The academic year is roughly the same as that of the rest of the university. 1Ls (this year) started early, making it more like one semester plus two quarters. There are three sets of exams, one for each quarter.

1Ls take Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Legal Research and Writing, and Criminal Law in the fall quarter. We take a shortened "Constitutional Law 1" course in the winter quarter, along with Property. In the spring quarter, there's an optional "Constitutional Law 2" (on the whole, covering more than a semester of constitutional law). Over both winter and spring, there's a "Federal Litigation" course which is a form of LRW that focuses on the Federal litigation process, ending in late April or early May. You can take one elective in the winter, and the spring quarter is all elective.

Cool thanks. Couple follow up questions:
ndnlawdc wrote:We also can do clinics full-time, without any other classes to worry about.

What? How does this work? In the spring when it's all electives?
ndnlawdc wrote:1Ls take Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Legal Research and Writing, and Criminal Law in the fall quarter.

Holy shit, 5 classes in the first quarter?! Really?

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ndnlawdc
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby ndnlawdc » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:38 pm

crackberry wrote:Cool thanks. Couple follow up questions:
ndnlawdc wrote:We also can do clinics full-time, without any other classes to worry about.

What? How does this work? In the spring when it's all electives?
ndnlawdc wrote:1Ls take Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Legal Research and Writing, and Criminal Law in the fall quarter.

Holy shit, 5 classes in the first quarter?! Really?


We can't do clinics/other experiential learning during the 1L year. But before, if you did a clinic you had to take a class to go along with it. Now, it's more like an externship, or a 40 hour/week job.

Five classes in the first quarter. Yep. Rumor has it that SLS has a waiver from the ABA to have 1Ls take more classes than at other schools. I'm not sure how accurate that is. But, because the quarter runs from August-December, it feels much more like a regular semester.

Another item of note: OCI started two weeks before the regular 2L quarter began, because of the economy. So the 2Ls had to be on campus for more than two weeks with pretty much nothing to do except for interview for jobs. No word yet as to when OCI will be next year.

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crackberry
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby crackberry » Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:59 pm

Appreciate the informative and insightful responses. Thanks, as always.

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DarlayBoo
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby DarlayBoo » Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:55 pm

Hi SLS 2L here, also joining the conversation for a few days if people have questions.

Read over the thread so far and the young'uns have done a pretty good job, just a couple things I'd add.

Mostly I wanted to add a little detail about grades. Thing is, H's are capped at between 30-40% of grades in a course. So ~70% of people will get P's even if the everyone does awesome. While I can confirm that not passing is not a real possibility (unless you really try to fail), getting an H is actually reasonably difficult (as people are pretty universally smart and on the ball here). There was some comment earlier about 2Ls being slackers and a bunch of people getting straight P's, but realize that even if grades were randomly/evenly distributed, you'd still be 30% H's 70% P's. So in a five class first semester, a totally average person in that scenario would have only 2 H's. However grades - while often sort of random (my first semester I P'ed a class where I authored the outline everyone else used, but got an H in a class I barely stayed awake for - and that's a typical experience) - do tend to cluster. If your class is like ours, there will be like 15 people who walk out of 1st semeter with 5 H's. But because of the cap, every H they have over the 2 average means someone else who will have less than the average. Rumor has it that about 50% of our class had 0-2 H's for the entire year and that seems about right when compared with the few people's grades that I know (btw, largely people are awesome and really don't discuss/compare grades. you'll probably only know those of a few friends). So, for you who remember elementary math terms, an SLS 1L on mean for their 1st semester would have 2H's, but the median is probably about 1H, and the mode is definitely 0H. However having the same grade as 70% of your really brilliant friends is really not that bad a fate.

While the 2L's doing OCI may have freaked out some about grades at the time, it seems like things have worked out for most people by now, regardless of grades. In general there are the people who care about grades and the people who don't. Both seem to do about the same and one is a lot happier and less stressed, with more energy to put towards extracurriculars, pro bono, and building relationships with people, all things with much more bearing on how you'll do in the real world.

Anyway, stupid topic to be too concerned with, but thought I'd add what little info is actually known about it from the perspective of someone whose actually gotten grades at SLS.

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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby Kretzy » Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:15 pm

DarlayBoo wrote:Hi SLS 2L here, also joining the conversation for a few days if people have questions.

Read over the thread so far and the young'uns have done a pretty good job, just a couple things I'd add.

Mostly I wanted to add a little detail about grades. Thing is, H's are capped at between 30-40% of grades in a course. So ~70% of people will get P's even if the everyone does awesome. While I can confirm that not passing is not a real possibility (unless you really try to fail), getting an H is actually reasonably difficult (as people are pretty universally smart and on the ball here). There was some comment earlier about 2Ls being slackers and a bunch of people getting straight P's, but realize that even if grades were randomly/evenly distributed, you'd still be 30% H's 70% P's. So in a five class first semester, a totally average person in that scenario would have only 2 H's. However grades - while often sort of random (my first semester I P'ed a class where I authored the outline everyone else used, but got an H in a class I barely stayed awake for - and that's a typical experience) - do tend to cluster. If your class is like ours, there will be like 15 people who walk out of 1st semeter with 5 H's. But because of the cap, every H they have over the 2 average means someone else who will have less than the average. Rumor has it that about 50% of our class had 0-2 H's for the entire year and that seems about right when compared with the few people's grades that I know (btw, largely people are awesome and really don't discuss/compare grades. you'll probably only know those of a few friends). So, for you who remember elementary math terms, an SLS 1L on mean for their 1st semester would have 2H's, but the median is probably about 1H, and the mode is definitely 0H. However having the same grade as 70% of your really brilliant friends is really not that bad a fate.


This was really helpful. Thanks for the explanation. Are clinics graded H/P as well, or do those who take clinics simply all get Ps?

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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby DarlayBoo » Sun Dec 27, 2009 5:27 pm

Clinics are graded as well - and are now the only classes you'll do that quarter - and you get like 3 grades for doing a clinic (like one for your writing, one for client interaction, etc. or something - forget how it's divided). Oh and should mention that the H % is a hard cap in 1L courses, but is slightly higher/looser in upper level courses (like closer to 40%), especially those with papers.

There are a few classes where it's a mandatory pass for everyone - i.e. no H's for anyone - but those are typically small practical classes like negotiation (maybe) and trial advocacy where it's all about experiential learning rather than an exam anyway.

Also, in the very very rare circumstance that you do manage to fuck up enough to get a RK (basically a low pass - might be new letters for this this year, but it happens so freakishly rarely I'm not even sure), realize that you still pass the class, don't have to retake it, and in fact can even graduate with up to 10 RK credits on your transcript. And NO ONE screws up that badly.

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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby GOB Bluth » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:08 am

ndnlawdc wrote:
crackberry wrote:What's the deal with SLS moving to quarters? I know the rest of the university has been on quarters forever and that the law school recently decided to adopt the rest of the university's academic calendar, but has it started? As a Stanford UG, I didn't have to be on campus until Sept. 20 or something, but doesn't SLS start earlier? I'll stop rambling; I have a couple questions:

- When does the academic year begin/end? I can't find the 2010-2011 academic calendar online.
- How do 1L classes work with the quarter system? Are there three sets of exams?


The quarter system is annoying. I can see the theoretical benefits, but I'm not sure how much it will practically benefit me (and many other law students). The best part is that we can take more classes over three years -- thereby gaining more exposure to different areas of law. We also can do clinics full-time, without any other classes to worry about. I guess those are substantial benefits, but the annoyance is pretty decent too. If you're into taking classes in other parts of the university (especially the GSB), the quarter system is also beneficial. On the downside, the White House Internship is practically unavailable to SLS kids this summer, and I've found some resistance from potential summer employers.

The academic year is roughly the same as that of the rest of the university. 1Ls (this year) started early, making it more like one semester plus two quarters. There are three sets of exams, one for each quarter.

1Ls take Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Legal Research and Writing, and Criminal Law in the fall quarter. We take a shortened "Constitutional Law 1" course in the winter quarter, along with Property. In the spring quarter, there's an optional "Constitutional Law 2" (on the whole, covering more than a semester of constitutional law). Over both winter and spring, there's a "Federal Litigation" course which is a form of LRW that focuses on the Federal litigation process, ending in late April or early May. You can take one elective in the winter, and the spring quarter is all elective.


I did not know 80% of this. Your fellow classmate thanks you! :D

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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby legends159 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:49 pm

I really hope median is 1 H b/c I think that would make a lot of people ease up a bit more while grades are being distributed.

But I doubt anyone knows what median is because there isn't enough data to make predictions. If it's true that grades do cluster then 1H might be median (not including LRW I assume). If grades don't cluster then 2H might be median (including LRW). I highly doubt 3H could be median so it's really between 1 or 2 with 2 or more H's in non LRW classes being definitely above median.

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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby ndnlawdc » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:08 am

legends159 wrote:I really hope median is 1 H b/c I think that would make a lot of people ease up a bit more while grades are being distributed.

But I doubt anyone knows what median is because there isn't enough data to make predictions. If it's true that grades do cluster then 1H might be median (not including LRW I assume). If grades don't cluster then 2H might be median (including LRW). I highly doubt 3H could be median so it's really between 1 or 2 with 2 or more H's in non LRW classes being definitely above median.


This is from the grading policy explanation sent out by OCS for us to include in our applications:

It is not unusual, especially if looking at students only after the first year, for someone in the middle of the class, or even in the top 40%, to have all P’s on his or her transcript.


I wonder if that means median is no H.

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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby rundoxierun » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:48 am

How difficult is it for someone with a gf to find a job for said gf around palo alto(in the arts specifically, gf will have a BA of some sort in music)?? Its obviously a bit far from San Fran to commute.

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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby ndnlawdc » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:50 am

tkgrrett wrote:How difficult is it for someone with a gf to find a job for said gf around palo alto(in the arts specifically, gf will have a BA of some sort in music)?? Its obviously a bit far from San Fran to commute.


My wife found a job within a week. That said, she's a pastry chef, but she's now working as an administrative assistant because that's the job she found.

RE: Your position. I bet your GF will not find a good-paying, full-time job in music in Palo Alto. Those jobs are probably hard to find in NYC/DC/SF, etc., and if your GF isn't willing to make the commute to San Francisco (which is far, but doable) then I bet she'll have to take a job doing something else and find a second job doing music to fulfill her interest. That's what my wife is doing -- making wedding cakes this summer, working part-time at a bakery, etc.

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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby sprezzatura » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:06 am

ndnlawdc wrote:
tkgrrett wrote:How difficult is it for someone with a gf to find a job for said gf around palo alto(in the arts specifically, gf will have a BA of some sort in music)?? Its obviously a bit far from San Fran to commute.

What about a photographer husband?

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DarlayBoo
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby DarlayBoo » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:21 am

legends159 wrote:I really hope median is 1 H b/c I think that would make a lot of people ease up a bit more while grades are being distributed.


My hope is that by publicizing the cold hard facts of basic math a little there will be fewer sobbing 1Ls in the library when grades get handed down. FYI, lat year we got all of our grades at once, on or about January 21st (the Inauguration was the day before I think), so once it happens, word spreads quickly. Until people get grades, everyone assumes they will have perfect ones, just like they always have before in school. But the big fish in college may be just your average fish here (again, still awesome, not a bad thing to be, sort of liberating really). And most fish in the SLS 1L pond will not have any H's. So yeah, set realistic expectations now.

legends159
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby legends159 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:43 am

DarlayBoo wrote:
legends159 wrote:I really hope median is 1 H b/c I think that would make a lot of people ease up a bit more while grades are being distributed.


My hope is that by publicizing the cold hard facts of basic math a little there will be fewer sobbing 1Ls in the library when grades get handed down. FYI, lat year we got all of our grades at once, on or about January 21st (the Inauguration was the day before I think), so once it happens, word spreads quickly. Until people get grades, everyone assumes they will have perfect ones, just like they always have before in school. But the big fish in college may be just your average fish here (again, still awesome, not a bad thing to be, sort of liberating really). And most fish in the SLS 1L pond will not have any H's. So yeah, set realistic expectations now.


grades have already been trickling in. I already have grades in crim, Ks and LRW. Haven't talked to anyone about grades at all though so no clue how people are feeling. Just get the feeling that some people, who i never saw in the library before, seem to be working extremely hard right now and it's only been one week in.

Re: finding a job, there's a lot of retail positions to hold your SO over for a while in the stanford shopping center which is very easy to get to. And SF is not a bad commute at all via Cal train. During the mornings it only took me 35 minutes to get into the city and if you get a monthly pass it's very affordable.

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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby legends159 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:53 am

ndnlawdc wrote:
It is not unusual, especially if looking at students only after the first year, for someone in the middle of the class, or even in the top 40%, to have all P’s on his or her transcript.


I wonder if that means median is no H.


I don't think that's what they mean. What they mean is that you could be that unlucky person who just miss getting an H but was ranked top 40% in all your classes. I guess the goal if you're that person is convincing employers that you were such a person.

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ndnlawdc
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby ndnlawdc » Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:24 am

OK. I'm going to take a minute to bitch about symplicity. For the 0Ls, it's the career management system that SLS (and many other law schools) use. Completely unintuitive. Why can't I attach both a resume and writing sample as separate documents for the same employer? Maybe I can, but I can't figure out how. Damn you symplicity!

legends159
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby legends159 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:51 am

ndnlawdc wrote:OK. I'm going to take a minute to bitch about symplicity. For the 0Ls, it's the career management system that SLS (and many other law schools) use. Completely unintuitive. Why can't I attach both a resume and writing sample as separate documents for the same employer? Maybe I can, but I can't figure out how. Damn you symplicity!


It's not symplicity's fault it's OCS who don't know how to and are too lazy to figure out how to set it up. They want you to instead combine all the documents into one document even though that is very hard since many people have different formatting for their resumes.

I'm using symplicity for my PI stuff and they allow me to upload all kinds of documents as separate files with no problem.

Renaixença
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby Renaixença » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:00 am

Why didn't SLS just spare their students all this "1 H is median . . . no, 0 H is median . . . no, wait, 1 H is mode!" trouble and go full P/F first semester like the big boys in New Haven?

legends159
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby legends159 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:06 am

Renaixença wrote:Why didn't SLS just spare their students all this "1 H is median . . . no, 0 H is median . . . no, wait, 1 H is mode!" trouble and go full P/F first semester like the big boys in New Haven?


Pretty sure w/o grades 1L year would've been a joke and I would've learned nothing. I'm glad we have grades, I just wish we had more of a HH/H/P thing like Boalt to give more deviation.

Not sure how no grades affect Yale in terms of placing their students. In absolute terms they place better per capita than anyone else but not sure how I can differentiate myself at a school with no real grades from the rest of my 200+ classmates especially if I am looking for the federal clerkships for the elite biglaw firms.

Renaixença
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby Renaixença » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:07 am

legends159 wrote:
Renaixença wrote:Why didn't SLS just spare their students all this "1 H is median . . . no, 0 H is median . . . no, wait, 1 H is mode!" trouble and go full P/F first semester like the big boys in New Haven?


Pretty sure w/o grades 1L year would've been a joke and I would've learned nothing. I'm glad we have grades, I just wish we had more of a HH/H/P thing like Boalt to give more deviation.

Not sure how no grades affect Yale in terms of placing their students. In absolute terms they place better per capita than anyone else but not sure how I can differentiate myself at a school with no real grades from the rest of my 200+ classmates especially if I am looking for the federal clerkships for the elite biglaw firms.


well, you could always do that second semester, or third, or fourth, or fifth, or even sixth!

legends159
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby legends159 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:09 am

yeah but there's no strict cutoff for how many can get H's and how many gets P's at Yale.

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crackberry
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby crackberry » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:50 am

A hypothetical:

Why not work your absolute ass off in 2 (or 3) classes to try to get 2 (or 3) Hs and then try to just squeak by with Ps in your other 2 (or 3) classes? Isn't this better than getting (almost-H-but-still-Ps) in 5 classes?

Kretzy
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Re: Stanford 1L taking questions

Postby Kretzy » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:04 pm

crackberry wrote:A hypothetical:

Why not work your absolute ass off in 2 (or 3) classes to try to get 2 (or 3) Hs and then try to just squeak by with Ps in your other 2 (or 3) classes? Isn't this better than getting (almost-H-but-still-Ps) in 5 classes?


You read my mind, crackberry. I wanted to ask the same thing. Do some students just try for Hs in Torts and Civ Pro, then hope for the best in the others?




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