The entire law school experience

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thenoob
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The entire law school experience

Postby thenoob » Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:48 pm

As my username indicates I am a noob 0L who doesn't really understand much of anything right now. If I had gone to law school without ever reading this site, I'd be COMPLETELY clueless about what I was in for. I probably wouldn't even know what OCI meant.

Glancing through this site, I've been piecing things together, but I'd like to get some things more explained.

So... Is this how it works?

First year is the hardest. You need to work hard to get good grades (obviously). At the end of the first year, is that when people go through the write-on process to try to get on law review? Does everybody try to do this? And when exactly do you try finding summer employment? / WHAT exactly is the process of finding it? Is there some kind of "OCI" for 1Ls? Or do you just submit applications for summer internships? And are they usually paid or not?

Then at the beginning of 2L year is when you participate in OCI? Which is a grueling process, blah blah blah, and if you get accepted for a SA position then you're likely going to be working at this firm once you graduate law school provided you don't fuck up? Or am I completely wrong and the hiring process for post-3L is completely separate from the one for summer after 2L? Do 3L grades really matter very much?

And so you take the bar summer after 3L? Does your company usually pay for your bar review course?

I guess that's pretty much it. Yes I do realize there were about 20,000 questions in here. You don't need to answer all of them, but if you have any information on any of them please share. And sorry for being so noobish.

Z3RO
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby Z3RO » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:08 pm

0L here. I know these will be answered better than by me, but maybe I can serve as an example of another person for whom almost their entire understanding of the process comes from this site.

1. 1L is a horrible grind. If you go to a shitty school, half of your friends will drop out afterwards. You need to start applying for jobs (judicial internships, research positions, SA's) in early December, because the first that you're allowed to apply is typically 12/1. If you go to a decent (T1) school, then the jobs will probably be paying. Even if you're doing research for a professor, you can probably swing a research stipend. The idea is that you want to try to find something that you can talk about in your rising 2L OCI. most likely is that you get a research spot or a job with a judge, but if you're URM from T14, you might get 1L SA.

2. Perspective on 2L OCI is about right. It's horrible, and the bidding process is a bit like blackjack. If you manage to land an SA spot, you historically are set to have a job, but nowadays it depends on the firm. Use NALP to figure out what the offer rate since 2008 has been. Even these won't be indicative of what you have coming, but it gives y3ou an idea of differences between firms. This research should be done before you do your bidding, along with an idea of what firms you have a realistic shot at given your GPA and 1L summer (which aint all that important as long as you can make it sound interesting in an interview). If you strike out, now is a fucking great time time to do a clinic if they're offered at your school. This way you can have something substantive to point to when you're hunting for 2L summer jobs (slurping the bottom of the barrel for judges and the like) in the hopes of building a resume for your 3L OCI last-ditch.

3. 3L grades will not matter unless you have fucked up your job search or are coming from a school that's sub mid-T1. In which case, all grades matter equally, because you weren't getting biglaw anyway. You take the bar exam in late July after completing 3L. If you get a firm gig, they will pay for it. If not, you'd better be ready to take out loans for that shit.

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mi-chan17
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby mi-chan17 » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:11 pm

I'm not really sure that 1L is the hardest, objectively speaking. It is difficult, primarily because law school is a whole new animal to you, but I hear from a lot of the rising 3Ls that on the whole 2L year was tougher.

In terms of the various processes that go on during 1L year (journal competition, "OCI", etc.) it depends entirely on what school you go to. At my law school, to get on to a journal you must participate in the writing competition. Period. We don't have "pure" grade-ons, but your grades are 70% of your competition score. At some other schools, grade-ons don't have to write anything at all. At some, every journal is determined by pure write-on.

Most 1L summer employment, at my school at least, was done through individual applications. Some schools will have a small OCI in the spring for their 1Ls/depressed 2Ls/suicidal 3Ls, but although I would recommend participating, I wouldn't count on it for work. Like Z3RO said, you can't begin applying anywhere until December 1st. Once that date hits, I recommend doing independent research and applying to places directly and getting intimate with Symplicity. The usual advice tends to be apply early. In general, I agree, especially for judicial internships. The upside: you don't have grades yet. The downside: you don't have grades yet, and some places will make you wait until you get those grades in to them.

I will have to contradict Z3RO here and tell you: No -- most 1L summer jobs are not paid, regardless of your school. The exceptions: 1L SAs and research assistants (and maybe HYS students - I have no idea what goes on in those places). 1L SAs are rare, and typically to get one you have to be diverse or you have to know someone. RA needs vary based on what your school's professors are doing. Most 1Ls will not work these jobs. Most 1Ls end up in some form of government internship (fed, state, judicial, etc.) or doing public interest. As I'm sure you realize, these particular employers are a bit hard-up for cash; you will not get paid.

Since I'm only a rising 2L, I will leave your 2L/3L OCI kinds of questions for people with better knowledge of the answers.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby Kilpatrick » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:39 pm

thenoob wrote:As my username indicates I am a noob 0L who doesn't really understand much of anything right now. If I had gone to law school without ever reading this site, I'd be COMPLETELY clueless about what I was in for. I probably wouldn't even know what OCI meant.

Glancing through this site, I've been piecing things together, but I'd like to get some things more explained.

So... Is this how it works?

First year is the hardest. You need to work hard to get good grades (obviously). At the end of the first year, is that when people go through the write-on process to try to get on law review? Does everybody try to do this? And when exactly do you try finding summer employment? / WHAT exactly is the process of finding it? Is there some kind of "OCI" for 1Ls? Or do you just submit applications for summer internships? And are they usually paid or not?


A lot of people say second year is more work, but first year is definitely the most pressure. The future of your career will almost entirely be determined by these grades. You do need to work hard, but also work smart and also have some innate ability and also get lucky (or at least don't get unlucky) to do well. December 1 is when you can start looking for 1l summer jobs. Unless you go to a T14 don't count on having much of a 1l OCI. You will get this job by applying to jobs on your schools job board (how I got mine) or mass mailing. High paying summer associate jobs for 1ls are extremely rare and if you aren't at a T10 or a URM you're not getting one. Modest paying jobs are possible, but I think the bulk of people do unpaid internships for judges, DAs, PDs, etc.

Law review will depend on your school. Some have pure grade on spots that go to a certain percentage of the top of the class and then award the rest through the write on competition. Some have no grade on and all spots are determined through the write on. Some (like Illinois) are a hybrid where even the top of the class has to do the write on but only need to give a good faith effort.

I'm only a rising 2l so the rest of your questions will have to be answered by someone else, but it looks like you've got the right idea.

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Cupidity
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby Cupidity » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:45 pm

1L was a breeze, I just drank the entire time and called it "networking." Studying is for rubes.

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MoS
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby MoS » Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:09 pm

thenoob wrote:First year is the hardest. You need to work hard to get good grades (obviously). At the end of the first year, is that when people go through the write-on process to try to get on law review? Does everybody try to do this? And when exactly do you try finding summer employment? / WHAT exactly is the process of finding it? Is there some kind of "OCI" for 1Ls? Or do you just submit applications for summer internships? And are they usually paid or not?


I'm a rising 2L (I've completed 1L). The only really hard thing about first year is first semester because you don't have any feedback, so you won't know if how you are studying is working. Getting used to the work is difficult but a month in you should be find with the work load. Working hard is not how you get good grades. Working smart is how you get good grades. That means doing the actual class work and finding something to supplement it in a meaningful way. If the E&E or Law in a Flash say something your professor didn't or in contradiction to what your professor did (as far as black letter law goes) then it is wrong. Most professors will tell you a good supplement for the class, if not ask a 2L on law review. Pay attention in class, professors will use certain phrases or analogies repeatedly, make sure to use them on your exam, if applicable (which they will be if you've studied enough).

Not everyone does write-on, not all schools even do write-on. I think some, maybe most, do a combination of write-on and grade-on for law review. It's not the most fun process, especially if it is pure write-on.

You're allowed to start talking to potential employers about jobs December 1. Anything before is a violation of NALP rules, or something like that. You're career services people can begin helping you with your job search November 1. These dates only apply to 1Ls. I'd recommend starting your preliminary searches well before hand for firms and government agencies you might work or volunteer for. Have a resume drafted, ask for a sample of a legal resume or find one in a book. Have cover letters drafted. And have an appointment to meet with Career services to look over and edit those documents. Remember there are very few 1L summer associate (SA) positions. You may not find one. Try anyway. Try to have your emails ready to send on December 1 or close to it. There are a lot of government agencies that will accept interns. Just find something law related to do your 1st summer and you will be fine. Preferably something that had you doing research and writing. Most jobs will be unpaid. There is usually a 1L oci. I go to a top 30 school, I think 3 people got jobs that way. So don't bank on it.

thenoob wrote:Then at the beginning of 2L year is when you participate in OCI? Which is a grueling process, blah blah blah, and if you get accepted for a SA position then you're likely going to be working at this firm once you graduate law school provided you don't fuck up? Or am I completely wrong and the hiring process for post-3L is completely separate from the one for summer after 2L? Do 3L grades really matter very much?


I haven't done 2L OCI, so I can't speak much on this. BUT I will say I fully expect 2L year to be the most difficult year of law school. A journal and appelate advocacy on top of a regular course load will be a lot to do. Conventional wisdom is 2L year is the hardest and most stressful. 1L year you are confused, not overworked.

thenoob wrote:And so you take the bar summer after 3L? Does your company usually pay for your bar review course?


Most medium to large firms will pay for a prep class and the bar fees. I don't know how government and small firms do it. There are bar loans available, but I personally want to avoid those.

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acadec
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby acadec » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:18 am

This is a great thread! Thanks to the OP for starting it, and the law students for responding. A quick question: say you wanted to try for an Article III clerkship between LS and Biglaw. Would your post-2L summer be spent best in a government job, essentially gambling on the clerkship? Or would it be best to get a SA position with a firm, get an offer, and then apply for the clerkship? (And, if you got it, could you defer your offer from the firm?) Thanks!

viking138
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby viking138 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:37 am

acadec wrote:This is a great thread! Thanks to the OP for starting it, and the law students for responding. A quick question: say you wanted to try for an Article III clerkship between LS and Biglaw. Would your post-2L summer be spent best in a government job, essentially gambling on the clerkship? Or would it be best to get a SA position with a firm, get an offer, and then apply for the clerkship? (And, if you got it, could you defer your offer from the firm?) Thanks!


It would be best to get a SA position. Some firms allow you to defer, but not all. If they don't allow you to defer, you're probably still more likely to get an offer post-clerkship if you re-interview since they know you and your work product.

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Corwin
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby Corwin » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:15 pm

acadec wrote:This is a great thread! Thanks to the OP for starting it, and the law students for responding. A quick question: say you wanted to try for an Article III clerkship between LS and Biglaw. Would your post-2L summer be spent best in a government job, essentially gambling on the clerkship? Or would it be best to get a SA position with a firm, get an offer, and then apply for the clerkship? (And, if you got it, could you defer your offer from the firm?) Thanks!

Lots of people get an SA and then ask the firm to hold the offer over until after the clerkship. If you've got the grades to get a good clerkship, you're a valuable commodity and firms are usually let you clerk and then start you as a second year associate. You want to read this post by GTLR that addresses this issue. In general you should probably read everything by GTLR if you are interested in clerking. #1 at a T14 and 2 COA clerkships.

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Veyron
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby Veyron » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:23 pm

1L: Scare you to death, work you to death
2L: Bore you to death (continue to scare you to death if no offer)
3L: Bore you to death (continue to scare you to death if no offer)
Post law school: Milk you to death

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MoS
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby MoS » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:45 pm

Veyron wrote:1L: Scare you to death, work you to death
2L: Bore you to death (continue to scare you to death if no offer)
3L: Bore you to death (continue to scare you to death if no offer)
Post law school: Milk you to death



Where did you come up with this?

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englawyer
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby englawyer » Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:52 am

1L is from experience; 2L/3L is predicted.


1L: Worry about grades all year. Get super scared around finals. Get depressed because you can barely find a summer job that isn't even paying. Attempt to write on law review and fail and the end of the year. Feel inadequate when your grades aren't as good as you usually get.

1L Summer: Make up some BS story about how the 1L employment you scrambled to get is what you wanted all along. Try to stand out relatively so you get a good work recommendation. Spend most of the day researching 2L employers covertly. Print out resumes etc. on the group's printer when no one is looking. Get super scared about OCI. Participate in OCI and do a bunch of screening interviews. Hope some of those turn into callbacks. Get super scared during callbacks. Hopefully get an offer for 2L summer.

2L: You already have an offer. You have a bunch of free time because law review was a fail. Take enough courses to be respectable (corp, evidence, and other "must have" courses). Don't let your grades become lulzy but overall be pretty laid back about it. Do some extra-curriculars that you find interesting. Go to bars and name-drop your law school to pickup people.

2L Summer: Be nervous on most days you will be in the 3% that get no-offered. Do a bunch of make work and go to the social events to prove you are "someone people want to have a beer with". Evade the topic of your lackluster 2L academic performance. Get an offer.

3L: Now you can really cruise since you have a real employment offer. Take lulzy courses like "Law and X". Laugh at 1L's who are super scared. Feel like you are wasting your time and that law school should just be two years. Be somewhat scared of the bar. Graduate. Start studying for the bar. Finish in August and become an associate.

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Veyron
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby Veyron » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:40 am

Where did you come up with this?


Modified an old saying.

englawyer wrote:1L is from experience; 2L/3L is predicted.


1L: Worry about grades all year. Get super scared around finals. Get depressed because you can barely find a summer job that isn't even paying. Attempt to write on law review and fail and the end of the year. Feel inadequate when your grades aren't as good as you usually get.

1L Summer: Make up some BS story about how the 1L employment you scrambled to get is what you wanted all along. Try to stand out relatively so you get a good work recommendation. Spend most of the day researching 2L employers covertly. Print out resumes etc. on the group's printer when no one is looking. Get super scared about OCI. Participate in OCI and do a bunch of screening interviews. Hope some of those turn into callbacks. Get super scared during callbacks. Hopefully get an offer for 2L summer.

2L: You already have an offer. You have a bunch of free time because law review was a fail. Take enough courses to be respectable (corp, evidence, and other "must have" courses). Don't let your grades become lulzy but overall be pretty laid back about it. Do some extra-curriculars that you find interesting. Go to bars and name-drop your law school to pickup people.

2L Summer: Be nervous on most days you will be in the 3% that get no-offered. Do a bunch of make work and go to the social events to prove you are "someone people want to have a beer with". Evade the topic of your lackluster 2L academic performance. Get an offer.

3L: Now you can really cruise since you have a real employment offer. Take lulzy courses like "Law and X". Laugh at 1L's who are super scared. Feel like you are wasting your time and that law school should just be two years. Be somewhat scared of the bar. Graduate. Start studying for the bar. Finish in August and become an associate.


This seems dead on, but you underplayed the bar.

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kapital98
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Re: The entire law school experience

Postby kapital98 » Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:28 am

englawyer wrote:1L is from experience; 2L/3L is predicted.


If you had this experience attending Harvard I'm much more scared than before :( :)




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