William & Mary

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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texas08
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William & Mary

Postby texas08 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:48 pm

Hey guys. I'm a 1L at W&M willing to take questions. I'm from out of state (obviously) so I may be able to answer some questions about Graduate Fellowships and things like that as well as just regular law school questions. I know this board was a lot of help for me last year so hopefully I can pay it back now.

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BruceBarr
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Re: William & Mary

Postby BruceBarr » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:51 pm

Actually... a less formal question. How is the campus life there? I know the school is small. Would you, honestly, rather be at a school more like Notre Dame or Boston College? Similar prestigious feel with a larger campus life.

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texas08
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Re: William & Mary

Postby texas08 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:10 am

Well I'm not going to lie and say that Williamsburg is comparable to Boston in terms of city-life. However, if you are looking for a collegial, friendly atmosphere at school, I don't think you can beat William and Mary. I didn't know how strongly the students/school valued the Honor Code before I came here, and I think that has a huge impact on day to day life here. As for Williamsburg itself, there are plenty of restaurants, shopping, etc. especially considering the size of the town and college (for example it's much bigger than Lexington, where Washington & Lee is). There isn't too much of a bar scene though, mostly a few regular places we all tend to frequent. Hope that answers your question!

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UFMatt
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Re: William & Mary

Postby UFMatt » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:17 am

As a 1L do you have any midterms, or is it all finals? Also, the website states that you can take your exams anywhere in the law school. Is this true? Thanks!

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Veritas
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Re: William & Mary

Postby Veritas » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:19 am

the Graduate Fellowship has a "B" average requirement, how is that relative to the W&M scale?

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Rowinguy2009
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Re: William & Mary

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:20 am

Can you talk a little bit about the graduate fellowship? Do you feel like it takes away time from studying? Do you have even like an ounce of free time between the fellowship work and classwork?

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texas08
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Re: William & Mary

Postby texas08 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:30 am

UFMatt wrote:As a 1L do you have any midterms, or is it all finals? Also, the website states that you can take your exams anywhere in the law school. Is this true? Thanks!


As far as I know, there are no graded midterms ever at W&M. Each of my professors offered a practice exam at some point midway-ish through the semester. As for finals, yes, you can take your exam anywhere in the law school (except the library basement, which no one really understands) unless the professor specifies otherwise. I don't know of any professors that aren't allowing this, and that includes some that are having closed-book exams. (insert another plug for the awesomeness of the Honor Code)

Veritas wrote:the Graduate Fellowship has a "B" average requirement, how is that relative to the W&M scale?


I believe classes are curved to a B+ (3.3), so I guess you only have to be in the top 70% or so. I'm not really sure on the exact numbers, sorry. Grades won't come out until January/February, so who knows how that will work out. I haven't heard of anyone losing their Fellowships from the 2L and 3L classes though.

Rowinguy2009 wrote:Can you talk a little bit about the graduate fellowship? Do you feel like it takes away time from studying? Do you have even like an ounce of free time between the fellowship work and classwork?


I think it really depends on you. I worked 15-20 hours a week in college, so I'm used to working I guess. I really don't think it's bad at all. I am really busy, but I would say that I'm also among the more involved students, and I still make it to Bar Review most weeks ;) .

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Burberry by Burberry
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Re: William & Mary

Postby Burberry by Burberry » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:39 am

Would you transfer if you could? Or have you fallen in love with W&M?

If given a choice of UT or W&M, why did you choose W&M? If UT was not an option, would you consider transferring there next year? Why or why not?

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kalvano
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Re: William & Mary

Postby kalvano » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:54 am

I guess this strict Honor Code is a Virginia thing, then?

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texas08
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Re: William & Mary

Postby texas08 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:09 am

kalvano wrote:I guess this strict Honor Code is a Virginia thing, then?


I'm not really sure. UVA's is supposedly pretty strict, but we had one at my undergrad (in Texas) too. I really think it lends itself to the collegial atmosphere though. I never worry about books having pages ripped out of them, or leaving all my stuff in the library to go eat lunch or go to a meeting.

Burberry by Burberry wrote:Would you transfer if you could? Or have you fallen in love with W&M?

If given a choice of UT or W&M, why did you choose W&M? If UT was not an option, would you consider transferring there next year? Why or why not?


These are some complicated questions to answer, and kind of a long story. When I sent in all my applications, I really wanted to go out of state but I applied in-state because I knew my family wanted me to stay, so all my in-state applications were half-assed. About February, I decided I really wanted to be at UT, but I knew it was a long shot since I was huge splitter and had a crappy application. Needless to say I didn't get in. So I started at W&M thinking that I would almost definitely try to transfer. Now that I'm here, it's a lot more complicated. Like I said in one of my other answers, I'm really involved here in student organizations. And, if my grades are good enough to transfer, I'll be at the top of my class and probably also on Law Review here. At this point, it is definitely possible that all of those things outweigh the benefits of transferring to UT. I do want to practice in Texas, so that is a consideration as well. If I wanted to stay in in the Mid-Atlantic or DC areas, it would be a no-brainer to stay here.

dark
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Re: William & Mary

Postby dark » Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:37 am

Hey guys. I'm another WM 1L. I'm from the Northeast and made the decision to chose WM over BU and BC among some others. I can also chip in on Graduate Fellowships. I'll try to answer anything Texas08 hasn't gotten to, or specific questions geared toward me.

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Displeased
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Re: William & Mary

Postby Displeased » Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:59 am

I'm another W&M 1L, I'll chime in if necessary.

I'm a lot like Dark, I came from the Northeast, and passed on a couple schools like BU to come to W&M. I actually think Dark and I live in the same building in the gradplex, though I'm not exactly sure who he is.

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Burberry by Burberry
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Re: William & Mary

Postby Burberry by Burberry » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:36 pm

dark wrote:Hey guys. I'm another WM 1L. I'm from the Northeast and made the decision to chose WM over BU and BC among some others. I can also chip in on Graduate Fellowships. I'll try to answer anything Texas08 hasn't gotten to, or specific questions geared toward me.

Displeased wrote:I'm another W&M 1L, I'll chime in if necessary.

I'm a lot like Dark, I came from the Northeast, and passed on a couple schools like BU to come to W&M. I actually think Dark and I live in the same building in the gradplex, though I'm not exactly sure who he is.

Why did you choose W&M over BU? What was it about the law school that drew you away from one of the top schools in the Northeast?

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RMstratosphere
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Re: William & Mary

Postby RMstratosphere » Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:46 pm

What are the time requirements for the Grad Fellowship?
Can you please go into more detail about the curve @ W&M?
I've heard both 3.1 and 3.3 so I'm curious for the specifics.

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texas08
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Re: William & Mary

Postby texas08 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:14 pm

RMstratosphere wrote:What are the time requirements for the Grad Fellowship?
Can you please go into more detail about the curve @ W&M?
I've heard both 3.1 and 3.3 so I'm curious for the specifics.


As for the grade curve, I'm just going to link you to the W&M page explaining it. It's kind of complicated, and there isn't a set GPA to curve to apparently. I think that it can range from a 3.1 to a 3.3 ... from what I've heard, I'm guessing most professors choose to grade to a 3.3.
http://law.wm.edu/academics/whatabout/e ... /index.php

As for the Grad Fellowship, during your 1L year, you work 8 hours a week except during finals. 4 hours are generally somewhere in the library (and most people get Circulation or Reference Desk gigs, although I work for InterLibrary Loan). The other 4 hours are pretty random, some people work in admissions, some work for the Courtroom or Tech Services, I work in Alumni Affairs. During finals you only work 2 hours a week, and that is in your library job.

2L and 3L years most people do research work for a professor, although I know one person who works for a judge and others who just stayed at their non-library jobs. I believe the work requirement is upped to 10 hours a week.

mhernton
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Re: William & Mary

Postby mhernton » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:24 pm

Can you walk us through indoc week and Law camp including when you arrived in Williamsburg, and how the first few weeks went.

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texas08
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Re: William & Mary

Postby texas08 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:56 pm

mhernton wrote:Can you walk us through indoc week and Law camp including when you arrived in Williamsburg, and how the first few weeks went.


I'm not sure what you mean by indoc week. I had heard a lot of good things about Law Camp before I came here, mostly because the admissions office plays it up, and W&M is supposed to have one of the top Legal Skills Programs in the country. Overall I thought there was a lot of wasted time. Some of my classmates think a week is too long, I disagree. I do think that the quality of what you are learning is not worth a week though. Legal Skills in general is under review right now for being revamped, I'm not too sure when things will be changed or what exactly they are looking at doing.

I got here a week ahead of time, and had never visited. I thought that was plenty of time and would not really recommend coming any earlier than that. People that did were generally pretty bored. We actually had a TLS meet up of most the regulars from the board. I think the first few weeks were fine, nothing too exciting. Mostly just meeting tons of new people and going to a million Student Organization informationals (mostly for the free food).

dark
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Re: William & Mary

Postby dark » Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:06 pm

Burberry by Burberry wrote:Why did you choose W&M over BU? What was it about the law school that drew you away from one of the top schools in the Northeast?


BU is a very good school, but I don't know if I'd call it one of the top schools in the Northeast if only for the reason that the Boston area and the Northeast in general has a glut of very famous and very good law schools (Harvard, Yale, BC, Columbia etc).


My circumstances were:
Pay full tuition at BU, or go to WM with very significant scholarships + fellowship where I would graduate with a fraction of the debt of BU.

Anyways, I researched BU and WM extensively and was still divided about which to choose between. Then April rolled around and I visited the campuses, talked to random students, and went to each law school's admitted student's day. If you are divided between the two schools, I encourage you to make the trip and see both of them. Visiting WM after visiting BU was what tipped the scales for me.

The following is some rambling based on my subjective opinion after visiting both schools. BU is a good school and I recognize I may have just visited the school on the wrong days and talked to the wrong people, or conversely, visited WM on good days and talked with the 15 people who were tops in the class or something.

Hmm, where to start. Unlike my experience visiting BU, random WM students went out of their way to praise different aspects of the law school. Unlike the graduating students I talked to at BU, graduating WM students I talked with did have big law and other jobs lined up (many of the people I talked with at BU, including people the administration selected to show the face of the law school to potential students, had rescinded offers. One 3L I sat down with for coffee was despairing about what she and her friends were going to do career wise as they had nothing lined up). Unlike BU, WM students smiled and seemed genuinely happy and collegial, and were very open when talking about the strengths and weaknesses of the school (not that BU students seemed the opposite exactly, but overcast New England weather can certainly sap your energy. A lot of people I talked with at BU just seemed incredibly driven and stressed out).

Btw, don't get the wrong impression, the potential for a big law career was a consideration for me, although I'd say that neither BU nor WM place a huge amount of students into large law firms.


I did some research and careful consideration in regards to where BU or WM have strengths and weaknesses relative to cities that I'm very interested in working in. The basic idea I got, is that BU is very strong in New England, Boston in particular as you can more easily network and there are alumni everywhere. In terms of New England, WM is nowhere near as strong (we do have a substantial amount of alumni in Boston though, maybe 60-80 I think? and historically its certainly not impossible to get a job with a firm in Boston as a WM grad). BU and WM are probably equally strong in NYC, we have a LOT of alumni there and historically, a lot of students from NY state and New Jersey. I'd argue that WM is much stronger in Washington DC than BU (long history of placing people there and our geographic location certainly helps in that respect).

There were some other considerations I took into account as well, one of them was: WM is in a small town, making it so that all the students live within a short distance of each other, bump into each other almost every day and (as lame as it sounds) form something of a cohesive identity. I feel like I know 75% of my class by name, and have an idea of who 90-95% of everyone in my class is by sight. In contrast, BU students go to class on different floors of a skyscraper, and out of necessity due to BU's location, can be scattered living in completely different areas of the city, or commuting from Newton or Brookline or other not incredibly close by locales. How much of a hassle is it to socialize with your friends if it takes 45 minutes for each of you to arrive somewhere? <-A Professor who was teaching at BC, who had previously taught at BU pointed this out (in regards to BU), saying that it effects the student identity and culture, making students feel isolated.

All things considered, I didn't think it was worth going a couple hundred thousand in debt just to increase my chances in New England and go to school in a skyscraper, when I could probably get back to New England with a fraction of the debt from WM if I wanted to put in some effort, while also keeping the door open for other significant opportunities in Washington DC.
Last edited by dark on Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Displeased
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Re: William & Mary

Postby Displeased » Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:17 pm

The Grad Fellowship is not a hassle at all, though it can vary depending on your job. The people who work at reference and circulation barely do anything, they just sit at a desk and study, occasionally answering a question or two. I know somebody at the reference desk who claims that the only thing he's ever had to do for his job was point in the direction of the bathroom.

Law Camp gets talked up for some reason at the ASW and in William and Mary literature, but its really not that impressive. You learn how to brief, which you will stop doing by the second week of classes, you practice writing a memo, and you learn the basics of reading judicial opinions. Law Camp is useful, I suppose, but its way too long. Besides, you don't learn anything you wouldn't pick up in the first week of real school. Having said that, Law Camp is really just the first week of Legal Skills, which is William and Mary's interesting take on Legal Writing. This paragraph is already going on for too long, so I'm not terribly inclined to explain the ins and outs of Legal Skills. I'm sure you'll hear enough about it from the various materials and promotional stuff that admissions sends you.

Like Texas08 said, the first few weeks of school were dominated by club events and organization meetings. There are a LOT of organizations and whatnot here at W&M, and I think that really sets it apart from other schools. I'm not just talking about clubs and organizations that are glorified drinking circles, I'm talking about organizations that do some serious work, maintain blogs, and do other things that look good on your resume. 1Ls do some surprisingly important work outside of classes, and it seems like everybody has a pet project they are working on. We're all a bunch of quirky go-getters.

Headybrah
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Re: William & Mary

Postby Headybrah » Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:45 pm

are the fellowships full scholarships?
or just 10 hr/ week paid?

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Displeased
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Re: William & Mary

Postby Displeased » Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:00 pm

The fellowship brings you down to in-state tuition, and in addition to that, you get about $110 dollars a week in stipends.

Its a fairly common scholarship, there are at least 80 or so 1Ls that get it.

I want to clarify a little bit about the work requirement, though. Its not a complete joke or something you can totally blow off. The administrative jobs tend to require more actual work, and even some of the library gigs require effort. Dark and I, for example, have a unique job in the library that requires about 40 minutes of genuine hard-work, but in exchange, we get credited for 2 hours of work. Others don't do any work, but actually have to stay put for their full two hours. Others have to work the full two hours to get credit for the 2 hours.

The point is, the amount of work you do for the grad fellowship is dependent on where you happen to be assigned. However, I've never, ever heard anybody say the grad fellowship isn't worth it. It comes out to over $15 an hour, not even counting the over ten thousand dollars you save in tuition. To be blunt, you'd have to be insane to allow the relatively minor work requirement to dissuade you from taking the scholarship.

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danidancer
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Re: William & Mary

Postby danidancer » Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:25 pm

How are students coping with the current economic climate? Is there as marked a difference in OCI from prior years as at other schools?

I assume Richmond and Hampton Roads are the two biggest markets outside of DC that students chose to work in - I grew up in Virginia Beach, but I have no idea what the legal market there is like. Is there much competition from peer schools, or does W&M have a clear advantage? What are the prospects there like today?

I'm also considering public interest/government work. How is the LRAP?

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RMstratosphere
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Re: William & Mary

Postby RMstratosphere » Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:33 pm

texas08 wrote:
RMstratosphere wrote:What are the time requirements for the Grad Fellowship?
Can you please go into more detail about the curve @ W&M?
I've heard both 3.1 and 3.3 so I'm curious for the specifics.


As for the grade curve, I'm just going to link you to the W&M page explaining it. It's kind of complicated, and there isn't a set GPA to curve to apparently. I think that it can range from a 3.1 to a 3.3 ... from what I've heard, I'm guessing most professors choose to grade to a 3.3.
http://law.wm.edu/academics/whatabout/e ... /index.php

As for the Grad Fellowship, during your 1L year, you work 8 hours a week except during finals. 4 hours are generally somewhere in the library (and most people get Circulation or Reference Desk gigs, although I work for InterLibrary Loan). The other 4 hours are pretty random, some people work in admissions, some work for the Courtroom or Tech Services, I work in Alumni Affairs. During finals you only work 2 hours a week, and that is in your library job.

2L and 3L years most people do research work for a professor, although I know one person who works for a judge and others who just stayed at their non-library jobs. I believe the work requirement is upped to 10 hours a week.


Thank you very much.

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texas08
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Re: William & Mary

Postby texas08 » Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:58 pm

danidancer wrote:How are students coping with the current economic climate? Is there as marked a difference in OCI from prior years as at other schools?

I assume Richmond and Hampton Roads are the two biggest markets outside of DC that students chose to work in - I grew up in Virginia Beach, but I have no idea what the legal market there is like. Is there much competition from peer schools, or does W&M have a clear advantage? What are the prospects there like today?

I'm also considering public interest/government work. How is the LRAP?


I think the current 2L class is getting the hardest hit from the economy. Hopefully by the time we are interviewing for 2L summer jobs (since most 1Ls don't get paying jobs their first summer anyways) things will be looking up. I've heard that OCI was smaller at most schools this fall, but obviously none of us had actual experience with that. I'm afraid I won't be much help with information on the Virginia market for W&M grads; I really haven't put in much research since I'm pretty sure I want to go back to Texas to practice.

Green Crayons
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Re: William & Mary

Postby Green Crayons » Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:56 pm

texas08 wrote:As for the Grad Fellowship ... 2L and 3L years most people do research work for a professor, although I know one person who works for a judge and others who just stayed at their non-library jobs. I believe the work requirement is upped to 10 hours a week.
Is there some sort of jockeying for these positions, or is it really just sort of knowing the right person and an opportunity just so happens to arise?

Also:
What's the cost of living like in Williamsburg?
From the website, it looks like the William and Mary Law Review only has a write on competition to join (instead of holding a certain number of seats for X number of students who are at the top X% of the class). Is this the case?




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