The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

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midrangejumper
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The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby midrangejumper » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:43 pm

(disclaimer: this is about MY experience. i do realize everyone has their own opinions/viewpoints/thoughts on their 1L experience and time in law school. i am only writing as mine...if you disagree with what i write, rock on. this is america!)

hello,

before i say somethings, i'd like to give a mini bio about myself. please make sure you look at the disclaimer above :D

i go to a law school in the 60's. many of you i'm sure know who i am and know what law school i go to. that's fine and i don't care, i just am not going to literally post the school name because i do not know who reads this site and i would rather not have any potential criticisms i make be directed right at me.

typing this is almost like a dream to me. i remember telling myself before law school even started that i would make this thread. top law schools was extremely instrumental to me in my lsat/application process, and i could not be more thankful that i stumbled on this site at just the right time. special thanks to ken, he helps very many and not enough props goes out to the man.

since 4th grade i knew i wanted to go to law school and be a lawyer. it was always my dream as i guided my schooling towards the goal. i went to a big10 school (from the midwest) and graduated with a 3.8. school wasn't super easy but definitely did not challenge me to my core. i went to law school directly after undergrad in a very unfortunate time in our economy. even though i always knew i wanted to go, i knew my applications were going to be crowded by people who chose law school on a whim that scored better lsat's than me. i had to accept that.

i couldn't be happier with where i go to school. many people on here stress looking BEYOND rankings (gasp! i know that's a crazy thought for most TLS'ers), and they are SO incredibly right. i chose a school and a location that i believed would make me the happiest, TOGETHER. i made the right choice based on my own personal opinions. i knew a few 1L's that from day 1 were not happy with where the law school was located, but chose it because it was the "best ranked school" they got into. many found happiness here. but also many left, completely unsatisfied with where the law school was. my question to myself thinking about them always was, 'if you moved here with the attitude you had, then why would you force yourself to come here in the first place?' choosing a school ranked 60's in a desirable location to me, and taking a pass on a school in the 40's i did not like where it was located was what i thought a risky decision. it turned out to be the smartest choice i made (especially since the school dropped in rank). ranking drops happen, and i can attest that if i would have gone to my other choice, in its location and with its ranking drop...i don't know how crazy i might feel if i had chosen it solely for its rank. go to law school where you want to LIVE too, don't let rankings run your choice and your life.

i really do not think anyone can prepare you for law school. i received a ton of advice from 1L's just finishing, 2L/3L's, and even grads. no matter what advice and warnings they give you, it does not hit home like the month before finals. scary as it sounds, i really do not think anything anyone told me REALLY prepared me mentally for what i experienced this year. and essentially, that's a huge point of law school. everyone on this site will have you convinced that you should do work before law school. i think that is not a good idea for multiple reasons, but the most important being that every single professor you have it different. for instance, my contracts teacher was the most abstract man alive. every concept of contracts that i might have learned through a supplement pre-law school (offer, acceptance, consideration, etc.) would have absolutely not helped me for his class nor the exam. my civpro teacher? we literally did not do the FRCP. i know every prof is not going to be like mine, and i know many will be the standard law school prof, but many aren't.

law school is exhausting for more reasons than just the schooling itself. you know what else kind of sucked? seeing the same people every single day. i know that sounds odd, but once you're in your "section," you have ever class with the same kids. every day. all year. that seriously blows. do you think gunners gun less once every hates them? no they don't. judgments and opinions in law school start from day 1. if you want everyone to think you're a douche, then acting like a douche from the get-go is a great way to start the talk. law school is high school. you bone someone at the 1L welcome to law school social, all your cohorts are going to talk about it. the 2L/3L's are going to talk about it. "hey you'd hear sarah blew tom?" you think i'm kidding but i was shocked to find out how much law school students talk and gossip. i think a lot of it has to do with the fact of how close you all become, but a lot of it has to do with the people. everyone is looking for something other than school to talk about at many times, and if your sexual escapades can be that, expect everyone to talk about it. i would highly suggest making friends outside of law school, if possible. i did and it was great to feel like i could get away from all "that" whenever i wanted. don't get me wrong, i did really really like my section and the kids i went to school with, but after 5 days of classes, group study sessions, weekend hangouts, i really appreciated the breaks i got from them. they are like a family, and being a family comes with the same annoyances i know everyone has with their own families.

i knew law school was going to be hard but first semester i made a lot of mistakes i quickly learned from. i did terrible first semester, a 2.8. it really hurt. at my undergrad i was at the top of the top, but here i realized that the work ethic of my undergrad was NOT going to cut it for law school.

one of the biggest things i realized that helped me greatly was all law school professors seem to care about is what they care about. seriously. my first semester i wrote a lot of my exams on what i thought. then i learned, second semester i went into each exam knowing exactly what my prof cared about. certain topics they loved to discuss, their opinions, etc. magically i got a 3.6. coincidence? i doubt it. law professors want to make sure you learn the topic but you need to give them what they want. i knew my crimpro prof was huge on minority rights. so what did i do? i learned the material and whenever i could, interjected the importance of protecting minority rights. i magically got an A in the class? no magic.

another thing i learned about law school exams is the ability to think on the fly. many law schools (did not know this going in) are open book. i remember thinking how awesome that is, but it's a trap. study for open book exams like you would a close book exam. you are going to feel SO rushed taking a law school exam. you think time flies during the lsat? ha. the students that do well are the ones that can make arguments on their feet. they know the material yes, but they also know how to argue it clearly. law professors have to read hundreds of exams many. do they want to read your confusing, mumbling exam? no, and they'll grade you harshly for it. a friend of mine barely write anything, yet she pulls A's. it isn't about how much you write and how much you can show the professor what you know, but it's about actually ANSWERING their question (seriously) and doing it succinctly.

everyone takes a legal research and writing class. i had a friend tell me "on your first REAL assignment, your first real paper, you need to do amazing on. once the professor reads your first real paper he/she believes that's what kinda writer you are. get a C on the first one, you'll get a C in the class." (i say real assignment because like mine, some will make you do a line of briefs before the first closed/open memo, and this isn't what i'm talking about).

when my friend told me this, i didn't take it to heart enough. i regretted doing that. I got a B on my first real assignment. I got a B both freaking semesters, though he'd always tell me how much "better" my writing had gotten. i asked him million times for tips and help, which he gave. i improved greatly but that didn't matter. why you ask? because not only does the professor in his mind when spending 10 minutes reading your paper believe "ok, this is midrange's, he's a B kinda guy...(grades paper)...he gets a B", but the curve is set. it's hard to knock an A writer off their post. i did everything he told me i should do, yet he always saw me the same: a B writer. it's hard to jump ahead of B+/A writers because the professor will always believe, before reading, that's what kind of work he's going to read. additionally, as the class goes on they will also get better, making it even harder to jump them in a grade. take it from me, rock the first assignment like it's your freaking job. for many, your writing class will be 2 credits/pass fail, yet you will spend so much freaking time on that class. it sucks, but that's standard.

i'm out of thoughts for now, but i'll post anything more/answer any questions if you all would like. sorry for the length! just trying to be helpful (if possible)

-middy

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Knock
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby Knock » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:07 pm

Thanks for an extremely insightful, real, and honest post. It was really good to read your thoughts. So overall, were you happy with your decision to attend law school? How hard/time consuming would you say it is compared to undergrad? What were some things that surprised you? what were some things you would do differently if you had to do it over?

midrangejumper
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby midrangejumper » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:14 pm

Knockglock wrote:Thanks for an extremely insightful, real, and honest post. It was really good to read your thoughts. So overall, were you happy with your decision to attend law school? How hard/time consuming would you say it is compared to undergrad? What were some things that surprised you? what were some things you would do differently if you had to do it over?


extremely happy. like i said, i have been wanting to go to law school my whole life. i won't deny it was the best yet worst year of my life. best as in i learned a lot, made good friends, loved where i lived; however worst because school absolutely kicked my ass mentally. no joke. law school is mentally exhausting, even physically exhausting a bit.

i went to a big10 school, so i'd say academically it was above average hardness level/work. i thought law school was not at all comparable to undergrad :lol: it is much harder and much much more work, pressure, and anxiety.

i think what surprised me other than what i wrote above is that at least at my school, you have to wait forever to get grades. for fall, it took 7 weeks; spring semester, 6.5 weeks. i'm not sure if that's atypical, but i can tell you that it feels like a years long wait.

for doing it over, i would have tried harder on my first legal research writing exam and like i said above as well, wrote notes in class based a lot on what the prof seemed to harp on/get excited about/told he/she wants to see on the exam. example i didn't put above too: my torts prof constantly said he wanted to make sure we memorized the elements of law, like negligence (duty, breach, causation, harm). yet some people did not put the elements of the law on his exam. they did terrible. he said it, yet people didn't do it. listen to what the professor wants and give it to them.

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Knock
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby Knock » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:18 pm

midrangejumper wrote:
Knockglock wrote:Thanks for an extremely insightful, real, and honest post. It was really good to read your thoughts. So overall, were you happy with your decision to attend law school? How hard/time consuming would you say it is compared to undergrad? What were some things that surprised you? what were some things you would do differently if you had to do it over?


extremely happy. like i said, i have been wanting to go to law school my whole life. i won't deny it was the best yet worst year of my life. best as in i learned a lot, made good friends, loved where i lived; however worst because school absolutely kicked my ass mentally. no joke. law school is mentally exhausting, even physically exhausting a bit.

i went to a big10 school, so i'd say academically it was above average hardness level/work. i thought law school was not at all comparable to undergrad :lol: it is much harder and much much more work, pressure, and anxiety.

i think what surprised me other than what i wrote above is that at least at my school, you have to wait forever to get grades. for fall, it took 7 weeks; spring semester, 6.5 weeks. i'm not sure if that's atypical, but i can tell you that it feels like a years long wait.

for doing it over, i would have tried harder on my first legal research writing exam and like i said above as well, wrote notes in class based a lot on what the prof seemed to harp on/get excited about/told he/she wants to see on the exam. example i didn't put above too: my torts prof constantly said he wanted to make sure we memorized the elements of law, like negligence (duty, breach, causation, harm). yet some people did not put the elements of the law on his exam. they did terrible. he said it, yet people didn't do it. listen to what the professor wants and give it to them.


Thanks so much for the great response. I'm glad to see someone who is extremely happy about attending law school. I too have been thinking about going for as long as I can remember, so hopefully I will be happy with my decision as well. I will definitely take your advice on the legal r/w papers.

Did you have a big "welcome to law school" moment at all? or "oh shit i'm actually in law school now" moment?

Thanks again, and congratulations on completing 1L.

helfer snooterbagon
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby helfer snooterbagon » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:21 pm

I really liked your post. It was refreshing. A welcome break from the typical post. Also, congrats on your huge improvement from 1st to 2nd semester.

midrangejumper
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby midrangejumper » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:22 pm

Knockglock wrote:
midrangejumper wrote:
Knockglock wrote:Thanks for an extremely insightful, real, and honest post. It was really good to read your thoughts. So overall, were you happy with your decision to attend law school? How hard/time consuming would you say it is compared to undergrad? What were some things that surprised you? what were some things you would do differently if you had to do it over?


extremely happy. like i said, i have been wanting to go to law school my whole life. i won't deny it was the best yet worst year of my life. best as in i learned a lot, made good friends, loved where i lived; however worst because school absolutely kicked my ass mentally. no joke. law school is mentally exhausting, even physically exhausting a bit.

i went to a big10 school, so i'd say academically it was above average hardness level/work. i thought law school was not at all comparable to undergrad :lol: it is much harder and much much more work, pressure, and anxiety.

i think what surprised me other than what i wrote above is that at least at my school, you have to wait forever to get grades. for fall, it took 7 weeks; spring semester, 6.5 weeks. i'm not sure if that's atypical, but i can tell you that it feels like a years long wait.

for doing it over, i would have tried harder on my first legal research writing exam and like i said above as well, wrote notes in class based a lot on what the prof seemed to harp on/get excited about/told he/she wants to see on the exam. example i didn't put above too: my torts prof constantly said he wanted to make sure we memorized the elements of law, like negligence (duty, breach, causation, harm). yet some people did not put the elements of the law on his exam. they did terrible. he said it, yet people didn't do it. listen to what the professor wants and give it to them.


Thanks so much for the great response. I'm glad to see someone who is extremely happy about attending law school. I too have been thinking about going for as long as I can remember, so hopefully I will be happy with my decision as well. I will definitely take your advice on the legal r/w papers.

Did you have a big "welcome to law school" moment at all? or "oh shit i'm actually in law school now" moment?

Thanks again, and congratulations on completing 1L.



oops i put legal research writing exam instead of paper :lol:

looking back, i now laugh at the first few months. those are all about adjusting and learning what law school is about. i know so much more now than i ever though possible then. i think it really clicked when it was about a month before finals. then i was like "holy crap how am i going to memorize all this material, for all these classes?" it was extremely stressful.

a lot about the first semester especially is learning what works/what doesn't for you. people say law school is easier 2L/3L year. i think that's true in the sense that it's easier because you just KNOW what to expect. makes life a lot more reasonable.

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Knock
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby Knock » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:23 pm

helfer snooterbagon wrote:I really liked your post. It was refreshing. A welcome break from the typical post. Also, congrats on your huge improvement from 1st to 2nd semester.


This as well. It must take big stones to dig deep and pull out that 3.6 after getting knocked down 1st semester.

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RayFinkle
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby RayFinkle » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:23 pm

midrangejumper wrote:law school is high school.


Mostly everyone finds it to be this way. There is no truer statement.

midrangejumper
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby midrangejumper » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:25 pm

helfer snooterbagon wrote:I really liked your post. It was refreshing. A welcome break from the typical post. Also, congrats on your huge improvement from 1st to 2nd semester.



thank you. i know that TLS can be hard for some because you read posts like "HARVARD OR PENN WITH 65K A YEAR?!" or "if you go to a school in the 60's don't even bother going" :( :cry: i'm not "t20" material but i knew law school was what i always wanted. as long as it is true in your heart law school is what you want, no matter where you go you'll have made the right choice. the worst thing you can do in life is not be true to yourself.

i did better because i knew what to expect. that's something no matter what i try to warn you, only you can learn for yourself. but really, know what your professor likes to harp on/expects and you will do way better than other classmates

NewLawStudent
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby NewLawStudent » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:26 pm

Thanks. Very useful info. Would you recommend any type of preparation before starting law school? I've already read Law School Confidential. But I feel I need more. Any suggestions?

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RayFinkle
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby RayFinkle » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:28 pm

NewLawStudent wrote:Thanks. Very useful info. Would you recommend any type of preparation before starting law school? I've already read Law School Confidential. But I feel I need more. Any suggestions?


Doesn't his post say not to work beforehand because of the uniqueness of different situation? Or did I misread?

midrangejumper
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby midrangejumper » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:30 pm

RayFinkle wrote:
NewLawStudent wrote:Thanks. Very useful info. Would you recommend any type of preparation before starting law school? I've already read Law School Confidential. But I feel I need more. Any suggestions?


Doesn't his post say not to work beforehand because of the uniqueness of different situation? Or did I misread?



i did say that but it's okay, i know my post is ridiculously long :lol:

really i know people that did and did not and both agreed it did not matter much. professors are all different, as in what they expect for you to know. like i said above, had i studied for civpro using e&e it wouldn't have helped me at ALL for my civpro class (bar exam, probably. but that's not for a long time and you'd forget a lot by then)

if anything, i would maybe suggest for conlaw to read "the 9" (you can just do that for fun, not necessary or anything for the class). i got a B+ in conlaw and i really did not know jack about the constitution (haha yes seriously) or the SCOTUS.

i know some kids that read "getting to maybe." that'd be the only thing id suggest because it's geared towards law school exams and what to expect. but even then, many profs are different. i had some that did NOT want a rigid IRAC format.

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RayFinkle
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby RayFinkle » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:34 pm

My suggestion to any rising 1L is to communicate with your professors as much as possible. Find old exams, take them, ask the profs to look at them. Ask them, specifically, what they look for on exams. Don't be annoying, but find out every damn detail you can and just give them EXACTLY what they want.

NewLawStudent
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby NewLawStudent » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:38 pm

What's 'the 9'? I can't seem to find it on Amazon.
Thanks

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DarkwingDick
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby DarkwingDick » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:38 pm

What are you doing this summer?

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rbgrocio
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby rbgrocio » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:38 pm

I'm done with my first year too, and I appreciate your post!

Unlike you, I did horrible my second semester. However, and though this may seem a stupid excuse, I don't think it was my fault. The two classes I did bad on, they never taught us anything. I think the good grades in those classes went to whoever had the better guess, and I was not one of them. What I have learned: law school is a creature of its own. People who go into law school need to leave behind anything they thought they knew and realize that they do not know crap. Anything you thought you knew will probably not help you in law school. Your LSAT will mean nothing, your SAT and your college grades even less.

Like you mentioned, it is extremely important to focus on the things the professor constantly repeats. Those are the little things that mark the difference between the A and the B+. I, however, do not agree with what you mentioned about legal writing. I got a C on my first assignment. I ended getting an A in the class. With a 2.4 curve, I doubt there were many more As. Maybe another one or so. Getting that C was a huge blow to my ego. I cried and felt like crap for like a week. I'm a journalist and I thought I could write. Again, anything you thought you knew is worthless!

I'm glad you did well your second semester. I'm very competitive, and I'm not happy with my performance (top 12 percent) but hopefully my grades will improve in the fall.

P.S: Regarding rankings I think you are totally right. I go to a tier 4. It is a school most of you have probably never even heard of. But I live in the place where I want to live, with the person (husband) I want to be and I'm the happiest I have ever been. Being at a "bad" school has not interfered with my ability to do well in the real world. I have a job in the firm I want to work in upon graduation; I'm getting paid, I made law review.... I can't complaint!

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danquayle
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby danquayle » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Wow, no snarky responses yet. I'm impressed, is TLS growing up?

I hope you follow up and post your semester ending feelings moving forward. I found my opinion of myself, my law school, law school generally and the job market oscillated dramatically from semester to semester, some of which is natural, some of which were exclusive to where I was. Just a few things can dramatically change your outlook. I know my impression of my law school did a dramatic 360 after I got my job...

One of the problems with reading opinions on this site is that there isn't much context. In particular, you can't tell whether a person is just a pie in the sky overly optimistic idiot, or a pessimistic over-privileged jerk based on one post.

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gdane
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby gdane » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:14 pm

How many girls did you bang?

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ZXCVBNM
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby ZXCVBNM » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:23 pm

I couldn't get past the first sentence of this post. And when I skimmed down to see something about ever since I was in 4th grade.... Is this post for real? Did anyone actually read it? Wow.

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ZXCVBNM
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby ZXCVBNM » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:23 pm

gdane5 wrote:How many girls did you bang?

clearly none

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gdane
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby gdane » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:24 pm

Dont be a dillhole. I read the entire thing. The poster kept me captivated from beginning to end. Although, I would like an answer to my question. The thought of being around the same girls for an entire year makes me giddy. I'd like to know how many the OP banged, if any.

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billyez
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby billyez » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:04 pm

Thank you for this post.

NewLawStudent wrote:What's 'the 9'? I can't seem to find it on Amazon.
Thanks


Most likely, it's a reference to "The Nine" by Jeffrey Toobin.

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yinz
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby yinz » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:20 pm

billyez wrote:Thank you for this post.

NewLawStudent wrote:What's 'the 9'? I can't seem to find it on Amazon.
Thanks


Most likely, it's a reference to "The Nine" by Jeffrey Toobin.


http://www.amazon.com/Things-Simply-Must-Succeed-Love/dp/B001O9CBU8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277086786&sr=1-2

kehdrms
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby kehdrms » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:31 pm

Thank you so much for this post. Will take another look in the coming weeks.

NewLawStudent
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Re: The grades are officially in, 1L year complete - My thoughts

Postby NewLawStudent » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:48 am

Aahhh... I think I'm missing something here. What does this book have to do with law school? :?:




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