Hi all. I'm a 2L at CU and will weigh in on a couple of the above questions. Please feel free to ignore me if you'd prefer to hear from my illustrious 1L compatriot.
Can I rent a house of decent size (at least 1200 SF) for $1500 or so?
With your willingness to commute, you'll have no problem finding a very nice house with more than 1200sf for $1500. In Boulder proper, however, you'd probably have a better selection of >1200sf townhomes (or your choice of large condos/apartments) than proper houses in that price range.
Also, how do you like the school...is it a tough workload, social life, etc?
If you're determined to make it work, you can make school no more than a M-F, 9-5 proposition (excepting end of semester studying and the odd legal writing assignment) during your 1L year. With this in mind, you can have as much of a social life as you're inclined to. Alternately, you could work every waking moment and still feel ill prepared if you'd like to do that.
Law school is largely a question of priorities. Once you're in, you're all but certain not to flunk out, so that shouldn't be of any particular concern. Not only are you not going to flunk out, because of the curve and the nature of the beast, you're probably going to get a B of some variety. In everything.
Given these two facts, you can go nuts, study all the time, and get some sort of B; or you can take it easy, get your work in, but not stress too much about anything, and get some sort of B. Sure, there are a number of folks who study nonstop and pull one of the relatively rare A's, but I know of some folks who put every bit as much effort into studying as the top-10% types and routinely get C's. The same is true of the inverse - you don't necessarily need to do all that much at all to get an A if you just get it.
Law school grades are, in general, a total crapshoot. You pretty much just end up doing as much as you're going to do, and then hope that the prof likes your answers (and then, like everyone else, you get some sort of B). Workload and social life have little to do with school itself, and more to do with how you feel about stuff and what your priorities are (keeping in mind that priorities have no necessary link to relative success).
All that said, the school is great. The professors and all the staff are, in general, fantastic. The building is still all new and wonderful. Setting is great, and the student body is awesome. Still very happy with my choice of CU.
And what were your numbers, if you don't mind?
How long did it take you to settle in to the swing of classes, studying, the professionalism that seems to be expected in the law school setting?
Took me probably about a month to really get settled into the swing of things last year, but I was probably pretty close to there within a couple weeks. I probably settled in more quickly than most, though, and you really don't fully grasp where you stand until after (at least) your first semester exams.
At the end of the day, though, it's still just school. Everyone pretty much understands school. Just because you're carrying around casebooks now doesn't mean that it's all
There's no particular level of increased professionalism expected in the law school setting (and if anyone says that there is, they should probably be ignored, or aren't going to CU).
Are you planning on participating in any clinics or internships next year? How daunting is the process?
They're just time-sucks. You sign up for clinics the same as you would any other class, go through clinic orientation, and then start working, keeping in frequent touch with the head of the clinic.
A straight-up internship is no less difficult logistically than any internship you would do during undergrad. You set up your schedule and terms with your employer, and then you show up to work.
Externships (an internship for credit) requires administrative approval (which allows a narrower range of stuff than you might think), a set number of work hours (depending on how many credits you want for it), and some level of employer oversight that results in documentation sent to the school (along with sporadic, waste-of-time "externship classes" at the law school). All that said, despite the bureaucratic nonsense involved, they're not especially daunting.