How hard is it to do well in law school?

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hopingforaJD
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby hopingforaJD » Sat May 15, 2010 2:59 am

Hard. If you don't mind being a hermit and studying 24/7 then you have a good chance at coming out on top.

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Bosque
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby Bosque » Sat May 15, 2010 3:50 am

hopingforaJD wrote:Hard. If you don't mind being a hermit and studying 24/7 then you have a good chance at coming out on top.


False. Black Bear.

GetItPatented
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby GetItPatented » Sun May 16, 2010 4:06 pm

I am trying to get an idea as to the difficulties of law school. How would any of you compare any given class in law school with something like an engineering physics class like electricity and magnetism?

d34d9823
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby d34d9823 » Sun May 16, 2010 4:10 pm

General Tso wrote: Being able to type 40-50 wpm is almost a necessity to keep up with the pack.

Yeah, but who that's our age CAN'T type 40 wpm? That's almost a disability in today's society.

(Old people, I don't mean you, keep doin' what you're doin')

Tautology
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby Tautology » Sun May 16, 2010 4:15 pm

GetItPatented wrote:I am trying to get an idea as to the difficulties of law school. How would any of you compare any given class in law school with something like an engineering physics class like electricity and magnetism?


Probably the same way they would compare an apple to an orange.

09042014
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby 09042014 » Sun May 16, 2010 5:13 pm

Tautology wrote:
GetItPatented wrote:I am trying to get an idea as to the difficulties of law school. How would any of you compare any given class in law school with something like an engineering physics class like electricity and magnetism?


Probably the same way they would compare an apple to an orange.


I have no clue since I haven't started law school, but an top engineering school ->t14 student said law school material is easier but there is more of it. It's also more steady. If you don't understand a problem set it might take you 6 hours, but reading x amount of pages is always the same.

He said law school was less work at the beginning of the year, and more during finals.

This is all hear say.

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Drake014
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby Drake014 » Sun May 16, 2010 5:54 pm

Its about as hard as it sounds. If you're going to a T14, you're going to a law school with A-B students who scored in the top 10% of the LSAT. These are smart people. Some know how to study, some few don't know how to study but are just so intelligent they've managed to get good grades and a good score. Either way, that's your competition. Virtually all of them are at law school by choice (unlike undergrad where I knew plenty who were kinda forced to go by their parents) and want to be studying law. Can you outstudy your competition? The average person there may be able to study their way into the top half of their class at best. Good luck.

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Stringer Bell
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby Stringer Bell » Sun May 16, 2010 6:38 pm

General Tso wrote:depends on the individual

the essential skills are:
-great memory
-analytical mind
-strong writing skills
-fast typer
-work ethic


So a great memory is necessary to do well? I was under the impression that for open book exams you just needed to be able to organize and have the ability to find what you needed. I'm good at memorizing concepts, but I'm pretty average when it comes to memorizing names (I'm guessing case names will be the same). I guess this means that I need to start taking Ginkoba.

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rbgrocio
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby rbgrocio » Sun May 16, 2010 6:43 pm

General Tso wrote:
pleasetryagain wrote:
General Tso wrote:depends on the individual

the essential skills are:
-great memory
-analytical mind
-strong writing skills
-fast typer
-work ethic


so get to work on your typing skills.


You joke, but it actually is very important. Being able to type 40-50 wpm is almost a necessity to keep up with the pack. I typed 5500 words on my Torts exam in about 3.5 hours. Typing more doesn't necessarily equal better grades, but there's a strong correlation between typing more and (1) deeper analysis (2) wider breadth of issues.

also LOL @ those suckers trying to handwrite their exams. Good luck doing 5000+ words by hand in 3 hours. That + professors will be turned off if your handwriting is sloppy.



I dunno how they do it either, but number 2 in my class hand wrote ALL his finals.

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rbgrocio
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby rbgrocio » Sun May 16, 2010 6:45 pm

GetItPatented wrote:I am trying to get an idea as to the difficulties of law school. How would any of you compare any given class in law school with something like an engineering physics class like electricity and magnetism?



I never took an engineering class so I cant compare but I have worked harder for one law school class than for my entire undergrad degree.

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rbgrocio
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby rbgrocio » Sun May 16, 2010 6:47 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:
General Tso wrote:depends on the individual

the essential skills are:
-great memory
-analytical mind
-strong writing skills
-fast typer
-work ethic


So a great memory is necessary to do well? I was under the impression that for open book exams you just needed to be able to organize and have the ability to find what you needed. I'm good at memorizing concepts, but I'm pretty average when it comes to memorizing names (I'm guessing case names will be the same). I guess this means that I need to start taking Ginkoba.


My experience has been that very few professors require you to cite any cases.

bradley
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby bradley » Sun May 16, 2010 6:48 pm

The concepts really are not that hard. If you go to a T-14, everybody will understand the concepts. The hard part of law school is learning how to answer law school exams. 90% of your class time might be spent on theoretical/philosophical discussions of the law, but 95% of your exam will involve spotting issues and applying the law to the facts. Most people don't understand this: they'll ramble on and on about why the law is what it is and use the facts to demonstrate theoretical/philosophical perspectives but the professors really don't care about this on the final. The people who understand this will do well. The people who understand how to weave the theoretical/philosophical arguments into the legal arguments (with only a sentence or two at the end of the discussion of each issue) will be in the top 10%.

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm

GetItPatented wrote:I am trying to get an idea as to the difficulties of law school. How would any of you compare any given class in law school with something like an engineering physics class like electricity and magnetism?

Here's how I would rank them, from easy to hard.

Torts
Criminal Law
Freshman Physics <---
Property
Constitutional Law
Contracts
Civil Procedure

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General Tso
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby General Tso » Sun May 16, 2010 8:19 pm

Stringer Bell wrote:
General Tso wrote:depends on the individual

the essential skills are:
-great memory
-analytical mind
-strong writing skills
-fast typer
-work ethic


So a great memory is necessary to do well? I was under the impression that for open book exams you just needed to be able to organize and have the ability to find what you needed. I'm good at memorizing concepts, but I'm pretty average when it comes to memorizing names (I'm guessing case names will be the same). I guess this means that I need to start taking Ginkoba.


Even on a 3-4 hour exam you will be pressed for time. You won't have enough time to look up everything in your outline.

Thane Messinger
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby Thane Messinger » Sun May 16, 2010 8:37 pm

SHANbangs wrote:I take it law school is pretty hard regardless of where you go. Lots of people on these boards are saying that you can't make big law without being in the top 30 percent of your class, especially if you're not T-14. How hard is it to make top 30 percent? What is the correlation between the amount of work you put in (provided you study efficiently) and the ranking you get in your class? Or are grades just a crapshoot?


It's easy to see law school as "hard," but that's not quite right. It's less that law school is difficult than it is disorienting. The skills and habits that served us well in college and before are either useless or even counterproductive in law school. In fact, in many cases our skillls and habits in college and before didn't serve us well . . . we did well academically because we were simply at the top of the class, academically. In law school, everyone is. And in law school's ever-important first year, everyone is graded on a strict curve.

So, rather than worrying about how much to study, worry instead about how to study. Among other things, realize that nearly everything done before (lots of notes, highlighting, cramming, etc.) simply will not work in law school.

Thane.

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Thane Messinger
Author of:
Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold
The Young Lawyer's Jungle Book: A Survival Guide

Andrew the Wolverine
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby Andrew the Wolverine » Sun May 16, 2010 8:44 pm

Bosque wrote:
hopingforaJD wrote:Hard. If you don't mind being a hermit and studying 24/7 then you have a good chance at coming out on top.


False. Black Bear.


Bears. Beats. Battlestar Galactica.

CanadianWolf
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun May 16, 2010 8:55 pm

The first year of law school is typically the most difficult year for law students. The key is issue spotting, thus understanding concepts is much more important than memorization. The second & third years tend to be easier with grades much more reflective of one's effort.

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thesealocust
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby thesealocust » Sun May 16, 2010 8:58 pm

oops
Last edited by thesealocust on Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Thane Messinger
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby Thane Messinger » Sun May 23, 2010 1:53 am

thesealocust wrote:Welcome to TLS, Thane. I lurk over at LSD and really liked your posts there.

Before TLS goes crazy: the guy spent a lot of time interacting with people on LSD and providing useful information and dialogue. The references to his books can come on kind of thick, but he's definitely here to help and is a valuable resource. Play nice!


Thank you. Believe it or not, I try to keep the references to a minimum . . . but, it's hard when there's a good source that addresses the topic. I've changed on this myself. In law school I lived on...no kidding...$120 per month. (And, no, it wasn't in 1926.) If someone had mentioned books to me I probably wouldn't have taken it too well. But now I realize that if I pick up just a few good tips it's well worth my time. Much of the trick is in knowing what to read...and how much to skim. Also, I have long been an advocate of libraries. If it's not there, ask a librarian to buy a copy; chances are, they will. You'll get a brand-new book and zero cost.

What one should be wary of is anything on the, ahem, internet. There's much good stuff out here, and there's quite a bit of noise (both irrelevant stuff and just-plain-wrong stuff). What's troubling as a practitioner and professor is that much of what's out there "for law students, by law students" is not just wrong, it's the reason so many law students become so deeply discouraged. (I apologize for the offense. But, sad to say, much of the truth in this is not in the specific advice but rather in the fact that there's little time in law school to reflect on what went wrong, and why. Even someone getting a "B+" will likely not know, exactly, why it wasn't an "A-" or an "A." My own thinking on this has changed over a period of ten years or so, in coversations with fellow authors, practitioners, and academic colleagues.) So, this is my pro bono effort of sorts.

In any event, again, thank you.

Thane.

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A'nold
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby A'nold » Sun May 23, 2010 2:13 am

I don't know about cramming. It kind of depends what you mean by cramming. Sure, if you never studied once during the semester or heard 1 thing the professor said and you pick up an E&E with 12 hours to go, you will likely bomb the exam. But, if you gave a moderate effort all semester and have some sort of outline ready, I think a day or two of total cramation works just fine for us crammers.

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teabag
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby teabag » Sun May 23, 2010 3:56 am

if you can remember thousands of pages of text and apply it then you will do well but who can do that?

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Sun May 23, 2010 4:45 am

teabag wrote:if you can remember thousands of pages of text and apply it then you will do well but who can do that?

lol, a 0L who thinks he knows how to do well in lawl skool

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let/them/eat/cake
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby let/them/eat/cake » Sun May 23, 2010 5:09 am

A'nold wrote:I don't know about cramming. It kind of depends what you mean by cramming. Sure, if you never studied once during the semester or heard 1 thing the professor said and you pick up an E&E with 12 hours to go, you will likely bomb the exam. But, if you gave a moderate effort all semester and have some sort of outline ready, I think a day or two of total cramation works just fine for us crammers.


+1. well, for at least 1 semester. jury's still out on #2. [cue Austin Powers joke].

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Bosque
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby Bosque » Sun May 23, 2010 11:16 pm

Leeroy Jenkins wrote:
GetItPatented wrote:I am trying to get an idea as to the difficulties of law school. How would any of you compare any given class in law school with something like an engineering physics class like electricity and magnetism?

Here's how I would rank them, from easy to hard.

Torts
Criminal Law
Freshman Physics <---
Property
Constitutional Law
Contracts
Civil Procedure


Ignoring the Physics (because they really are different), I don't think you can really rank the subjects like that. The difficulty level depends almost entirely on the professor you get. The right professor can make any class the easiest or the hardest.

For example, you may have Property in the middle of the pack. But everyone who took Property with me is in agreement that it was by far our most difficult class. Likewise, Civ Pro was probably the easiest for us.

Even if you were to take professors out of the equation somehow, no one is going to feel the same way about that list. Some people really hate the estate system and cannot wrap their minds around it. Some people love Contracts and find the UCC the easiest thing in the world to implement. It depends on the person.

Unless of course, by "how I would rank them" you meant specifically by your experience and you were not trying to generalize to the greater populace. In which case, I am sure you are correct.

On the topic of engineering and physics classes, as an electrical engineer now in law school, I think I can answer that pretty well. Desert Fox was pretty spot on. Law is not hard to understand. Law just takes a while. Cases are incredibly dense reading, and can be poorly written. Physics and engineering can be hard to understand, but learning the concepts actually takes very little time. If you understand it, you can get your work done rather quickly. So maybe expect to spend a little more time preparing in law school, but don't expect to have to think as hard.

That said, I don't spend nearly the time that everyone else seems to on law school work. Maybe I am just really efficient studying, maybe I am one of those brilliant enough to coast people, or maybe everyone else is just over preparing for exams. I am not sure. But I just thought I would again throw my experience out there so that if you (the person reading this) find that you are not spending as much time preparing as your classmates, you will not arbitrarily panic and assume you must be behind. Evaluate where you are before jumping to conclusions.

Oh, and to address this point:
Stringer Bell wrote:
General Tso wrote:depends on the individual

the essential skills are:
-great memory
-analytical mind
-strong writing skills
-fast typer
-work ethic


So a great memory is necessary to do well? I was under the impression that for open book exams you just needed to be able to organize and have the ability to find what you needed. I'm good at memorizing concepts, but I'm pretty average when it comes to memorizing names (I'm guessing case names will be the same). I guess this means that I need to start taking Ginkoba.


If you are referencing the materials on exams, you are doing it wrong. You don't have time to look this stuff up. If you want to use case names (and all my professors explicitly told us they are not necessary-with exceptions including the proximate cause cases in torts, some case names in Civ Pro, and nearly all case names in Con Law) then I can understand looking those up briefly. But if you are doing more than a quick 5 second reference every once in a while, you don't understand the material well enough. And that time wasted learning it is going to cost you.

Plus, some classes are NOT open book (for example, my Contracts final). It, again, all depends on the professor. So I would not count on having the crutch of your notes.

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thecilent
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Re: How hard is it to do well in law school?

Postby thecilent » Sun May 23, 2010 11:45 pm

Leeroy Jenkins wrote:
teabag wrote:if you can remember thousands of pages of text and apply it then you will do well but who can do that?

lol, a 0L who thinks he knows how to do well in lawl skool


Um this has nothing to do with him being an 0L. I think the point is pretty clear: anyone who can memorize thousands of pages of text and apply it is going to well, obviously -- but it's just that no one can physically do this




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