How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

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kekepania
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby kekepania » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:30 pm

sillyboots wrote:There's also the issue of outlier professors. Arrow and others discuss them in their guides, but seriously, sometimes no matter how hard you work, you're subject to a teacher's random evaluations. I've known people who had grades like A/A+/A+/B- without any difference in approach with the fourth class. The teacher might only ask obscure policy questions, with the top 20% in the class totally stumbling into a better looking answer than the rest of the class. The test might be too easy, with everyone getting substantively the correct answers and the main difference in grades coming down to mostly facial things like word choice. The teacher might be old, tired, confused and ready to retire and just do a really shitty job of grading. The chances are in your favor that if you pay attention to the teacher, what they say, try to read their style and work hard in class, you won't feel like your grade was subjective in the end, but there really are outliers, and all it takes is one to destroy your GPA.


snowpeach06 wrote:
AP-375 wrote:I'd recommend xeoh's advice thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=118545
Following it strictly led to success for me. My opinion is that law school grading is not as subjective as a lot of people think, at least at my T25 school. In my small social group, at my school only, it seems like the kids who followed something similar to xeoh's plan and worked very hard did very well. I wouldn't call that subjective at all, just elusive, perhaps, although it is based on only my experience.

I also know a lot of people with great grades who were lazy as shit, people with terrible grades who seemed to study both hard and efficiently, and people who study equally hard for everything, but get some good grades and some bad.


Isn't it like this in some undergrad classes as well? Sometimes you just can't figure out what the professor wants.
Last edited by kekepania on Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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spleenworship
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby spleenworship » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:34 pm

Dany wrote:
drmguy wrote:no

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spleenworship
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby spleenworship » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:37 pm

kekepania wrote:
sillyboots wrote:There's also the issue of outlier professors. Arrow and others discuss them in their guides, but seriously, sometimes no matter how hard you work, you're subject to a teacher's random evaluations. I've known people who had grades like A/A+/A+/B- without any difference in approach with the fourth class. The teacher might only ask obscure policy questions, with the top 20% in the class totally stumbling into a better looking answer than the rest of the class. The test might be too easy, with everyone getting substantively the correct answers and the main difference in grades coming down to mostly facial things like word choice. The teacher might be old, tired, confused and ready to retire and just do a really shitty job of grading. The chances are in your favor that if you pay attention to the teacher, what they say, try to read their style and work hard in class, you won't feel like your grade was subjective in the end, but there really are outliers, and all it takes is one to destroy your GPA.


Isn't it like this in some undergrad classes as well?


But undergrad isn't usually on a strict curve. Law school grading is very unlike undergrad. Forget undergrad. That shit was easy, highly predictable, and (with the exception of hard science/math classes) like a hundred times easier... at least when compared to 1L when your anxiety levels and lost-at-sea-ness are at their highest.

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kekepania
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby kekepania » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:40 pm

spleenworship wrote:
kekepania wrote:
sillyboots wrote:There's also the issue of outlier professors. Arrow and others discuss them in their guides, but seriously, sometimes no matter how hard you work, you're subject to a teacher's random evaluations. I've known people who had grades like A/A+/A+/B- without any difference in approach with the fourth class. The teacher might only ask obscure policy questions, with the top 20% in the class totally stumbling into a better looking answer than the rest of the class. The test might be too easy, with everyone getting substantively the correct answers and the main difference in grades coming down to mostly facial things like word choice. The teacher might be old, tired, confused and ready to retire and just do a really shitty job of grading. The chances are in your favor that if you pay attention to the teacher, what they say, try to read their style and work hard in class, you won't feel like your grade was subjective in the end, but there really are outliers, and all it takes is one to destroy your GPA.


Isn't it like this in some undergrad classes as well?


But undergrad isn't usually on a strict curve. Law school grading is very unlike undergrad. Forget undergrad. That shit was easy, highly predictable, and (with the exception of hard science/math classes) like a hundred times easier... at least when compared to 1L when your anxiety levels and lost-at-sea-ness are at their highest.


For grades, at least through high school and undergrad, I knew many who opened the textbook for the first time the night/morning before midterms/finals and aced all their classes. Personally, I had one class (Ochem) where I did everything possible and still got a C+. Fortunately, working hard worked out for me in other classes.

This is probably a silly question, but what is the purpose of making law school grading so ridiculous?

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Gail
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby Gail » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:22 pm

sunynp wrote:The problem is that working hard will not guarantee success. Because working hard worked out for some people and they did well, other people worked just as hard and end up at median or lower. It isn't enough to work hard.

There are several threads on this forum by people who followed xeoh or similar advice. and they are devastated when they don't do well.

By no means am I saying don't follow these guides. My point is that following them is no guarantee of doing well. It isn't like undergrad grading at all. You can't just study more and do better than others in your class.


I took Xeoh with a grain of salt. 4 hours of sleep a night and then 12 hours on Sunday? Come on.

I'm not adverse to putting in a lot of study time. I will definitely frontload my schedule (by nature I do that anyways), I will treat past exams as dogma, I will outline early and have the thing memorized by exam day. All of that I swear.

Do I think I need to study 80 hours a week to do that? I'd have to be a really slow reader. And my SO would strangle me.



I did like how he talked about the forks though. That makes a lot of intuitive sense to me.

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Gail
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby Gail » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:26 pm

kekepania wrote:
spleenworship wrote:
kekepania wrote:
sillyboots wrote:There's also the issue of outlier professors. Arrow and others discuss them in their guides, but seriously, sometimes no matter how hard you work, you're subject to a teacher's random evaluations. I've known people who had grades like A/A+/A+/B- without any difference in approach with the fourth class. The teacher might only ask obscure policy questions, with the top 20% in the class totally stumbling into a better looking answer than the rest of the class. The test might be too easy, with everyone getting substantively the correct answers and the main difference in grades coming down to mostly facial things like word choice. The teacher might be old, tired, confused and ready to retire and just do a really shitty job of grading. The chances are in your favor that if you pay attention to the teacher, what they say, try to read their style and work hard in class, you won't feel like your grade was subjective in the end, but there really are outliers, and all it takes is one to destroy your GPA.


Isn't it like this in some undergrad classes as well?


But undergrad isn't usually on a strict curve. Law school grading is very unlike undergrad. Forget undergrad. That shit was easy, highly predictable, and (with the exception of hard science/math classes) like a hundred times easier... at least when compared to 1L when your anxiety levels and lost-at-sea-ness are at their highest.


For grades, at least through high school and undergrad, I knew many who opened the textbook for the first time the night/morning before midterms/finals and aced all their classes. Personally, I had one class (Ochem) where I did everything possible and still got a C+. Fortunately, working hard worked out for me in other classes.

This is probably a silly question, but what is the purpose of making law school grading so ridiculous?


Winners and losers.

Winners are:

Not last at HYS
Median at T6
Top 40% at T14
Top 33% at T20
Top 25% at T30
Top 20% at T40
Top 15% at T50
Top 10% at T100
Number 1 everywhere else

Losers are the rest of us.

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kekepania
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby kekepania » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:35 pm

Gail wrote:
sunynp wrote:The problem is that working hard will not guarantee success. Because working hard worked out for some people and they did well, other people worked just as hard and end up at median or lower. It isn't enough to work hard.

There are several threads on this forum by people who followed xeoh or similar advice. and they are devastated when they don't do well.

By no means am I saying don't follow these guides. My point is that following them is no guarantee of doing well. It isn't like undergrad grading at all. You can't just study more and do better than others in your class.


I took Xeoh with a grain of salt. 4 hours of sleep a night and then 12 hours on Sunday? Come on.

I'm not adverse to putting in a lot of study time. I will definitely frontload my schedule (by nature I do that anyways), I will treat past exams as dogma, I will outline early and have the thing memorized by exam day. All of that I swear.

Do I think I need to study 80 hours a week to do that? I'd have to be a really slow reader. And my SO would strangle me.



I did like how he talked about the forks though. That makes a lot of intuitive sense to me.


Yes, I have tried to get away with less than 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Even when I only get 6, I can tell I'm not functioning at optimum level. I also have been active my whole life - I can feela huge difference if I stop exercising for just a week. I'm willing to sacrifice some leisure time and social life, but maybe not so much sleep and exercise time.

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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby spleenworship » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:40 pm

Gail wrote:
kekepania wrote:
For grades, at least through high school and undergrad, I knew many who opened the textbook for the first time the night/morning before midterms/finals and aced all their classes. Personally, I had one class (Ochem) where I did everything possible and still got a C+. Fortunately, working hard worked out for me in other classes.

This is probably a silly question, but what is the purpose of making law school grading so ridiculous?


Winners and losers.

Winners are:

Not last at HYS
Median at T6
Top 40% at T14
Top 33% at T20
Top 25% at T30
Top 20% at T40
Top 15% at T50
Top 10% at T100
Number 1 everywhere else

Losers are the rest of us.


Would like to add that strong regional can change that a little. Idaho is T100 if I remember correctly, does quite well in its market. Also, apparently, full of racists.

As to why make law school grading so hard... i have two answers, depending on my mood:

1) To destroy your soul, piss on your hopes and dreams, and ruin your life for their entertainment.

2) As an arbitrary way of differentiating incredibly similar candidates (usually equally smart/hard working/etc) so that employers having to choose from a glut of new law students can make choices more easily. 45,000 grads per year, 30,000 jobs.

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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby spleenworship » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:41 pm

kekepania wrote:
Gail wrote:
sunynp wrote:The problem is that working hard will not guarantee success. Because working hard worked out for some people and they did well, other people worked just as hard and end up at median or lower. It isn't enough to work hard.

There are several threads on this forum by people who followed xeoh or similar advice. and they are devastated when they don't do well.

By no means am I saying don't follow these guides. My point is that following them is no guarantee of doing well. It isn't like undergrad grading at all. You can't just study more and do better than others in your class.


I took Xeoh with a grain of salt. 4 hours of sleep a night and then 12 hours on Sunday? Come on.

I'm not adverse to putting in a lot of study time. I will definitely frontload my schedule (by nature I do that anyways), I will treat past exams as dogma, I will outline early and have the thing memorized by exam day. All of that I swear.

Do I think I need to study 80 hours a week to do that? I'd have to be a really slow reader. And my SO would strangle me.



I did like how he talked about the forks though. That makes a lot of intuitive sense to me.


Yes, I have tried to get away with less than 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Even when I only get 6, I can tell I'm not functioning at optimum level. I also have been active my whole life - I can feela huge difference if I stop exercising for just a week. I'm willing to sacrifice some leisure time and social life, but maybe not so much sleep and exercise time.


I didn't follow xeoh. I put in 50-60 hours per week, including class time, slept 8 hours a night or so, and still did pretty good. My only real issue was not putting in more time before finals. Hopefully this semester should fix that.

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NeighborGuy
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby NeighborGuy » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:16 pm

spleenworship wrote:
Would like to add that strong regional can change that a little. Idaho is T100 if I remember correctly, does quite well in its market. Also, apparently, full of racists one sexist moron who foolishly ran his mouth to the ABA about how he felt that women shouldn't be allowed in law school.


FTFY.

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spleenworship
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby spleenworship » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:43 pm

NeighborGuy wrote:
spleenworship wrote:
Would like to add that strong regional can change that a little. Idaho is T100 if I remember correctly, does quite well in its market. Also, apparently, full of racists one sexist moron who foolishly ran his mouth to the ABA about how he felt that women shouldn't be allowed in law school.


FTFY.


LOL! Thank u. I wondered.

wildhaggis
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby wildhaggis » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:55 pm

Short answer: no.

There will be plenty of kids at or below the 25th percentile LSAT score for your school who come out at the top of the class, and an equal amount of kids at or above the 75th percentile LSAT score for your school who come out at or below median.

It's all about figuring out what your professor wants to see on the test. The next most important thing is to simply apply the causes of action you learned in class to the fact pattern in front of you better than your class mates (if we're talking about the traditional issue-spotter).

Best of luck.

sillyboots
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby sillyboots » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:33 pm

For grades, at least through high school and undergrad, I knew many who opened the textbook for the first time the night/morning before midterms/finals and aced all their classes. Personally, I had one class (Ochem) where I did everything possible and still got a C+. Fortunately, working hard worked out for me in other classes.

This is probably a silly question, but what is the purpose of making law school grading so ridiculous?


I think a good part of it is tradition: this is the way that law schools have done it almost since inception. Other justifications would probably include giving employers a sense of who did better than others. Someone who consistently gets As in their classes shows something exceptional about themselves in the sense that, in a large crowd of people statistically similar to you, you somehow consistently managed to outperform all of them.

I think the frustration of lawschool is something really hard to grasp outside the first person perspective. You can know abstractly that yeah, it's curved, sure it's a lot of reading, and it's a lot of pressure, etc. but it really doesn't add up until you're actually 3 months in sitting in class.

Say you do decent on the LSAT and have a respectable undergraduate GPA and end up going to a T50. If you want to be competitive for a biglaw job (which most people who are in it primarily for money do) you're going to need to at least pull top 15% of the class. So you enroll, you get stuck in your section of 100 kids knowing that they should all have roughly similar LSAT and GPAs to you.

As time goes on and people raise their hands and you realize some of the kids are exceptionally smart. Maybe three of them got accepted at much better schools but took scholarships, and are working hard so that they can transfer to HYS next year, so there goes the top 3% right there. Then there's another 5 kids who you just dont know why but just seem to get it, they're working hard and just happen to have a magical knack for lawschool, so already the top 8% is gone in total. You then realize that there are 2-3 kids who never raise their hands but whenever they get called on they just destroy the questions, and seem to have everything down to a pat. You take into consideration that you aren't the worlds fastest typest and that you get nervous when you have to think on your feet (keep in mind in most lawschool classes, there's NO graded homework and 100% of your grade is determined by a ~3 hour final), and you figure another 2-3 kids working just as hard as you and that are similarly smart will beat you just on those grounds.

Suddenly you feel like you're competing for just one slot. You notice half of the class seems to be working pretty hard, staying late into the night and even coming in on weekends. You also start to consider luck factors: what if my computer crashes in the middle of the test and I need to bluebook it? What if I misread a question or overlook one? What if when I spaced out for four minutes in class the other day I missed the professor say something that won't end up in my notes, won't end up in my outline, and will be a chunk of points on the eventual exam (yes, this can happen)? What if I have a bad read on what the professor wants; I really didn't feel that confident about the sample hypo he handed out?

The many ways you can fail starts to pester you. You feel like you should work harder to guarantee your chances, but the possibility that it will all be for nothing seems so real and probable that you can't muster the inspiration. The feelings go back and forth and you decide you need to take a break and you've probably been working too hard and thinking too much. A three day weekend comes up and you decide to just take it off, give yourself a rest. When you come back you realize your inspiration has depleted even more, and you decide to continue to cut back on your work and make it up during the upcoming weekend. During the week you continue to see people working hard in the library, hear some of the smart kids talk about how they caught up on their outlines over the three day weekend, and when your 'hard work' weekend comes around, you feel a little defeated and depressed and don't get that much done. The work starts to build up and your confidence continues to be frustrated. You go through ups and downs of effort until finals, and get your grades back for the first semester, landing you in the top 25%. Not horrible, but you realize to break top 15% you'll need to ace the upcoming semester. Still, you feel like you worked pretty hard the last semester, and everyone talks about working harder this semester so is it realistic that you can ace it? The cycle continues ...

Alright this narrative was probably a little too intense and neurotic but I think a lot of it spells out truths. When you go from feeling like you're competing for 15 slots to feeling like you're competing for ~5 slots, things get very real, especially when your entire grade comes down to a few hour performance. I remember counting down row in class and asking myself if I thought I was smarter than 8 of the 10 people, and the answer was definitely not a yes. Crap is stressful, and it's the same at every law school in the country.

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spleenworship
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby spleenworship » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:58 pm

sillyboots wrote:
For grades, at least through high school and undergrad, I knew many who opened the textbook for the first time the night/morning before midterms/finals and aced all their classes. Personally, I had one class (Ochem) where I did everything possible and still got a C+. Fortunately, working hard worked out for me in other classes.

This is probably a silly question, but what is the purpose of making law school grading so ridiculous?


I think a good part of it is tradition: this is the way that law schools have done it almost since inception. Other justifications would probably include giving employers a sense of who did better than others. Someone who consistently gets As in their classes shows something exceptional about themselves in the sense that, in a large crowd of people statistically similar to you, you somehow consistently managed to outperform all of them.

I think the frustration of lawschool is something really hard to grasp outside the first person perspective. You can know abstractly that yeah, it's curved, sure it's a lot of reading, and it's a lot of pressure, etc. but it really doesn't add up until you're actually 3 months in sitting in class.

Say you do decent on the LSAT and have a respectable undergraduate GPA and end up going to a T50. If you want to be competitive for a biglaw job (which most people who are in it primarily for money do) you're going to need to at least pull top 15% of the class. So you enroll, you get stuck in your section of 100 kids knowing that they should all have roughly similar LSAT and GPAs to you.

As time goes on and people raise their hands and you realize some of the kids are exceptionally smart. Maybe three of them got accepted at much better schools but took scholarships, and are working hard so that they can transfer to HYS next year, so there goes the top 3% right there. Then there's another 5 kids who you just dont know why but just seem to get it, they're working hard and just happen to have a magical knack for lawschool, so already the top 8% is gone in total. You then realize that there are 2-3 kids who never raise their hands but whenever they get called on they just destroy the questions, and seem to have everything down to a pat. You take into consideration that you aren't the worlds fastest typest and that you get nervous when you have to think on your feet (keep in mind in most lawschool classes, there's NO graded homework and 100% of your grade is determined by a ~3 hour final), and you figure another 2-3 kids working just as hard as you and that are similarly smart will beat you just on those grounds.

Suddenly you feel like you're competing for just one slot. You notice half of the class seems to be working pretty hard, staying late into the night and even coming in on weekends. You also start to consider luck factors: what if my computer crashes in the middle of the test and I need to bluebook it? What if I misread a question or overlook one? What if when I spaced out for four minutes in class the other day I missed the professor say something that won't end up in my notes, won't end up in my outline, and will be a chunk of points on the eventual exam (yes, this can happen)? What if I have a bad read on what the professor wants; I really didn't feel that confident about the sample hypo he handed out?

The many ways you can fail starts to pester you. You feel like you should work harder to guarantee your chances, but the possibility that it will all be for nothing seems so real and probable that you can't muster the inspiration. The feelings go back and forth and you decide you need to take a break and you've probably been working too hard and thinking too much. A three day weekend comes up and you decide to just take it off, give yourself a rest. When you come back you realize your inspiration has depleted even more, and you decide to continue to cut back on your work and make it up during the upcoming weekend. During the week you continue to see people working hard in the library, hear some of the smart kids talk about how they caught up on their outlines over the three day weekend, and when your 'hard work' weekend comes around, you feel a little defeated and depressed and don't get that much done. The work starts to build up and your confidence continues to be frustrated. You go through ups and downs of effort until finals, and get your grades back for the first semester, landing you in the top 25%. Not horrible, but you realize to break top 15% you'll need to ace the upcoming semester. Still, you feel like you worked pretty hard the last semester, and everyone talks about working harder this semester so is it realistic that you can ace it? The cycle continues ...

Alright this narrative was probably a little too intense and neurotic but I think a lot of it spells out truths. When you go from feeling like you're competing for 15 slots to feeling like you're competing for ~5 slots, things get very real, especially when your entire grade comes down to a few hour performance. I remember counting down row in class and asking myself if I thought I was smarter than 8 of the 10 people, and the answer was definitely not a yes. Crap is stressful, and it's the same at every law school in the country.


+10000 to this. Great post. Even now it is hard to find the motivation, after top third, for me to get the gpa required to keep my scholly. This is spot on.

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kekepania
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby kekepania » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:04 pm

spleenworship wrote:
sillyboots wrote:
For grades, at least through high school and undergrad, I knew many who opened the textbook for the first time the night/morning before midterms/finals and aced all their classes. Personally, I had one class (Ochem) where I did everything possible and still got a C+. Fortunately, working hard worked out for me in other classes.

This is probably a silly question, but what is the purpose of making law school grading so ridiculous?


I think a good part of it is tradition: this is the way that law schools have done it almost since inception. Other justifications would probably include giving employers a sense of who did better than others. Someone who consistently gets As in their classes shows something exceptional about themselves in the sense that, in a large crowd of people statistically similar to you, you somehow consistently managed to outperform all of them.

I think the frustration of lawschool is something really hard to grasp outside the first person perspective. You can know abstractly that yeah, it's curved, sure it's a lot of reading, and it's a lot of pressure, etc. but it really doesn't add up until you're actually 3 months in sitting in class.

Say you do decent on the LSAT and have a respectable undergraduate GPA and end up going to a T50. If you want to be competitive for a biglaw job (which most people who are in it primarily for money do) you're going to need to at least pull top 15% of the class. So you enroll, you get stuck in your section of 100 kids knowing that they should all have roughly similar LSAT and GPAs to you.

As time goes on and people raise their hands and you realize some of the kids are exceptionally smart. Maybe three of them got accepted at much better schools but took scholarships, and are working hard so that they can transfer to HYS next year, so there goes the top 3% right there. Then there's another 5 kids who you just dont know why but just seem to get it, they're working hard and just happen to have a magical knack for lawschool, so already the top 8% is gone in total. You then realize that there are 2-3 kids who never raise their hands but whenever they get called on they just destroy the questions, and seem to have everything down to a pat. You take into consideration that you aren't the worlds fastest typest and that you get nervous when you have to think on your feet (keep in mind in most lawschool classes, there's NO graded homework and 100% of your grade is determined by a ~3 hour final), and you figure another 2-3 kids working just as hard as you and that are similarly smart will beat you just on those grounds.

Suddenly you feel like you're competing for just one slot. You notice half of the class seems to be working pretty hard, staying late into the night and even coming in on weekends. You also start to consider luck factors: what if my computer crashes in the middle of the test and I need to bluebook it? What if I misread a question or overlook one? What if when I spaced out for four minutes in class the other day I missed the professor say something that won't end up in my notes, won't end up in my outline, and will be a chunk of points on the eventual exam (yes, this can happen)? What if I have a bad read on what the professor wants; I really didn't feel that confident about the sample hypo he handed out?

The many ways you can fail starts to pester you. You feel like you should work harder to guarantee your chances, but the possibility that it will all be for nothing seems so real and probable that you can't muster the inspiration. The feelings go back and forth and you decide you need to take a break and you've probably been working too hard and thinking too much. A three day weekend comes up and you decide to just take it off, give yourself a rest. When you come back you realize your inspiration has depleted even more, and you decide to continue to cut back on your work and make it up during the upcoming weekend. During the week you continue to see people working hard in the library, hear some of the smart kids talk about how they caught up on their outlines over the three day weekend, and when your 'hard work' weekend comes around, you feel a little defeated and depressed and don't get that much done. The work starts to build up and your confidence continues to be frustrated. You go through ups and downs of effort until finals, and get your grades back for the first semester, landing you in the top 25%. Not horrible, but you realize to break top 15% you'll need to ace the upcoming semester. Still, you feel like you worked pretty hard the last semester, and everyone talks about working harder this semester so is it realistic that you can ace it? The cycle continues ...

Alright this narrative was probably a little too intense and neurotic but I think a lot of it spells out truths. When you go from feeling like you're competing for 15 slots to feeling like you're competing for ~5 slots, things get very real, especially when your entire grade comes down to a few hour performance. I remember counting down row in class and asking myself if I thought I was smarter than 8 of the 10 people, and the answer was definitely not a yes. Crap is stressful, and it's the same at every law school in the country.

+10000 to this. Great post. Even now it is hard to find the motivation, after top third, for me to get the gpa required to keep my scholly. This is spot on.


Why does it seem like law is the only field that does this? This post sounds like it would drive everyone crazy. How do people stay sane with this kind of thinking?

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Kabuo
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby Kabuo » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:11 pm

sillyboots wrote:
For grades, at least through high school and undergrad, I knew many who opened the textbook for the first time the night/morning before midterms/finals and aced all their classes. Personally, I had one class (Ochem) where I did everything possible and still got a C+. Fortunately, working hard worked out for me in other classes.

This is probably a silly question, but what is the purpose of making law school grading so ridiculous?


I think a good part of it is tradition: this is the way that law schools have done it almost since inception. Other justifications would probably include giving employers a sense of who did better than others. Someone who consistently gets As in their classes shows something exceptional about themselves in the sense that, in a large crowd of people statistically similar to you, you somehow consistently managed to outperform all of them.

I think the frustration of lawschool is something really hard to grasp outside the first person perspective. You can know abstractly that yeah, it's curved, sure it's a lot of reading, and it's a lot of pressure, etc. but it really doesn't add up until you're actually 3 months in sitting in class.

Say you do decent on the LSAT and have a respectable undergraduate GPA and end up going to a T50. If you want to be competitive for a biglaw job (which most people who are in it primarily for money do) you're going to need to at least pull top 15% of the class. So you enroll, you get stuck in your section of 100 kids knowing that they should all have roughly similar LSAT and GPAs to you.

As time goes on and people raise their hands and you realize some of the kids are exceptionally smart. Maybe three of them got accepted at much better schools but took scholarships, and are working hard so that they can transfer to HYS next year, so there goes the top 3% right there. Then there's another 5 kids who you just dont know why but just seem to get it, they're working hard and just happen to have a magical knack for lawschool, so already the top 8% is gone in total. You then realize that there are 2-3 kids who never raise their hands but whenever they get called on they just destroy the questions, and seem to have everything down to a pat. You take into consideration that you aren't the worlds fastest typest and that you get nervous when you have to think on your feet (keep in mind in most lawschool classes, there's NO graded homework and 100% of your grade is determined by a ~3 hour final), and you figure another 2-3 kids working just as hard as you and that are similarly smart will beat you just on those grounds.

Suddenly you feel like you're competing for just one slot. You notice half of the class seems to be working pretty hard, staying late into the night and even coming in on weekends. You also start to consider luck factors: what if my computer crashes in the middle of the test and I need to bluebook it? What if I misread a question or overlook one? What if when I spaced out for four minutes in class the other day I missed the professor say something that won't end up in my notes, won't end up in my outline, and will be a chunk of points on the eventual exam (yes, this can happen)? What if I have a bad read on what the professor wants; I really didn't feel that confident about the sample hypo he handed out?

The many ways you can fail starts to pester you. You feel like you should work harder to guarantee your chances, but the possibility that it will all be for nothing seems so real and probable that you can't muster the inspiration. The feelings go back and forth and you decide you need to take a break and you've probably been working too hard and thinking too much. A three day weekend comes up and you decide to just take it off, give yourself a rest. When you come back you realize your inspiration has depleted even more, and you decide to continue to cut back on your work and make it up during the upcoming weekend. During the week you continue to see people working hard in the library, hear some of the smart kids talk about how they caught up on their outlines over the three day weekend, and when your 'hard work' weekend comes around, you feel a little defeated and depressed and don't get that much done. The work starts to build up and your confidence continues to be frustrated. You go through ups and downs of effort until finals, and get your grades back for the first semester, landing you in the top 25%. Not horrible, but you realize to break top 15% you'll need to ace the upcoming semester. Still, you feel like you worked pretty hard the last semester, and everyone talks about working harder this semester so is it realistic that you can ace it? The cycle continues ...

Alright this narrative was probably a little too intense and neurotic but I think a lot of it spells out truths. When you go from feeling like you're competing for 15 slots to feeling like you're competing for ~5 slots, things get very real, especially when your entire grade comes down to a few hour performance. I remember counting down row in class and asking myself if I thought I was smarter than 8 of the 10 people, and the answer was definitely not a yes. Crap is stressful, and it's the same at every law school in the country.


This is very well said. I could add personal details about how it is pretty much my first semester exactly, but it seems unnecessary. +1.

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PDaddy
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby PDaddy » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:24 pm

Jah'rakal wrote:
kekepania wrote:I have no problem working hard but I'm worried about the possibility that my efforts will be futile. Is there a way to know if I will be successful in law school?


i heard if ur white then it helps your chances to succeed, but i am not sure if it's correlation or causation


Is this a friggin' joke? First, there's a difference between "chances" and "odds", and, secondly, "success" is mostly a relative concept in the academic context. From a pure education standpoint, graduating from law school = success. From a career standpoint, that's far from true, as we all know. Still, I call BS, unless you really are joking. I can't tell.

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ben4847
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby ben4847 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:37 pm

sillyboots wrote:That being said, I whole heartedly endorse the old TLS mantra that you should only go to a law school if you'd be content graduating from median there. If that's not true, take the LSAT again or don't go to law school. Really, betting tens of thousands of dollars that you're going to seriously outperform a large group of people who are statistically identical to you is just plain irrational. Good luck to you in any case!


That is quite a risk. Even assuming that 2/3 of the class is at median or above, that makes the risk be 1/3!

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ben4847
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby ben4847 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:40 pm

sillyboots wrote:
For grades, at least through high school and undergrad, I knew many who opened the textbook for the first time the night/morning before midterms/finals and aced all their classes. Personally, I had one class (Ochem) where I did everything possible and still got a C+. Fortunately, working hard worked out for me in other classes.

This is probably a silly question, but what is the purpose of making law school grading so ridiculous?


I think a good part of it is tradition: this is the way that law schools have done it almost since inception. Other justifications would probably include giving employers a sense of who did better than others. Someone who consistently gets As in their classes shows something exceptional about themselves in the sense that, in a large crowd of people statistically similar to you, you somehow consistently managed to outperform all of them.

I think the frustration of lawschool is something really hard to grasp outside the first person perspective. You can know abstractly that yeah, it's curved, sure it's a lot of reading, and it's a lot of pressure, etc. but it really doesn't add up until you're actually 3 months in sitting in class.

Say you do decent on the LSAT and have a respectable undergraduate GPA and end up going to a T50. If you want to be competitive for a biglaw job (which most people who are in it primarily for money do) you're going to need to at least pull top 15% of the class. So you enroll, you get stuck in your section of 100 kids knowing that they should all have roughly similar LSAT and GPAs to you.

As time goes on and people raise their hands and you realize some of the kids are exceptionally smart. Maybe three of them got accepted at much better schools but took scholarships, and are working hard so that they can transfer to HYS next year, so there goes the top 3% right there. Then there's another 5 kids who you just dont know why but just seem to get it, they're working hard and just happen to have a magical knack for lawschool, so already the top 8% is gone in total. You then realize that there are 2-3 kids who never raise their hands but whenever they get called on they just destroy the questions, and seem to have everything down to a pat. You take into consideration that you aren't the worlds fastest typest and that you get nervous when you have to think on your feet (keep in mind in most lawschool classes, there's NO graded homework and 100% of your grade is determined by a ~3 hour final), and you figure another 2-3 kids working just as hard as you and that are similarly smart will beat you just on those grounds.

Suddenly you feel like you're competing for just one slot. You notice half of the class seems to be working pretty hard, staying late into the night and even coming in on weekends. You also start to consider luck factors: what if my computer crashes in the middle of the test and I need to bluebook it? What if I misread a question or overlook one? What if when I spaced out for four minutes in class the other day I missed the professor say something that won't end up in my notes, won't end up in my outline, and will be a chunk of points on the eventual exam (yes, this can happen)? What if I have a bad read on what the professor wants; I really didn't feel that confident about the sample hypo he handed out?

The many ways you can fail starts to pester you. You feel like you should work harder to guarantee your chances, but the possibility that it will all be for nothing seems so real and probable that you can't muster the inspiration. The feelings go back and forth and you decide you need to take a break and you've probably been working too hard and thinking too much. A three day weekend comes up and you decide to just take it off, give yourself a rest. When you come back you realize your inspiration has depleted even more, and you decide to continue to cut back on your work and make it up during the upcoming weekend. During the week you continue to see people working hard in the library, hear some of the smart kids talk about how they caught up on their outlines over the three day weekend, and when your 'hard work' weekend comes around, you feel a little defeated and depressed and don't get that much done. The work starts to build up and your confidence continues to be frustrated. You go through ups and downs of effort until finals, and get your grades back for the first semester, landing you in the top 25%. Not horrible, but you realize to break top 15% you'll need to ace the upcoming semester. Still, you feel like you worked pretty hard the last semester, and everyone talks about working harder this semester so is it realistic that you can ace it? The cycle continues ...

Alright this narrative was probably a little too intense and neurotic but I think a lot of it spells out truths. When you go from feeling like you're competing for 15 slots to feeling like you're competing for ~5 slots, things get very real, especially when your entire grade comes down to a few hour performance. I remember counting down row in class and asking myself if I thought I was smarter than 8 of the 10 people, and the answer was definitely not a yes. Crap is stressful, and it's the same at every law school in the country.


You forgot about the ones who never know what's going on when asked a question, because they don't read for class. And don't volunteer much information. And can't type very fast. But sit quietly taking notes and making outlines and taking practice exams, and then they kill it because they have that unique skill for taking law school exams. Hee hee, that's me.

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spleenworship
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby spleenworship » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:44 pm

kekepania wrote:Why does it seem like law is the only field that does this? This post sounds like it would drive everyone crazy. How do people stay sane with this kind of thinking?


LOL @ sanity in law school. Everyone ends up somewhere from mildly neurotic to full on psychotic break after 1L, sometimes after only a few weeks, as far as I can tell.

They handed me a pamphlet at orientation that pointed out that law students entered law school with the same amount of mental health impairments as the general population and left with something like twice as many. I can get actual numbers if you want.

I think they do this on purpose though:

In real life, as a lawyer, a client comes in, you do a ton of research, you write motions and a brief, then you go out and do oral arguments... and in the end, despite weeks, months, or even years of work an unsympathetic jury or bad judge, or a better opposing counsel will destroy you... utterly destroy you.

Better get used to it now, I think.

ETA: or a bad client who lied, or quits, or is an idiot...

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Kabuo
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby Kabuo » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:48 pm

spleenworship wrote:
kekepania wrote:Why does it seem like law is the only field that does this? This post sounds like it would drive everyone crazy. How do people stay sane with this kind of thinking?


LOL @ sanity in law school. Everyone ends up somewhere from mildly neurotic to full on psychotic break after 1L, sometimes after only a few weeks, as far as I can tell.

They handed me a pamphlet at orientation that pointed out that law students entered law school with the same amount of mental health impairments as the general population and left with something like twice as many. I can get actual numbers if you want.

I think they do this on purpose though:

In real life, as a lawyer, a client comes in, you do a ton of research, you write motions and a brief, then you go out and do oral arguments... and in the end, despite weeks, months, or even years of work an unsympathetic jury or bad judge, or a better opposing counsel will destroy you... utterly destroy you.

Better get used to it now, I think.

ETA: or a bad client who lied, or quits, or is an idiot...


My LS didn't provide me this info, but a highly esteemed publication, I think ATL, mentioned it once. I think the numbers they gave were something like it was a normal distribution of depressed people in the 0Ls, and by 3L year it was like 4x as high.

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spleenworship
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby spleenworship » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:05 pm

Kabuo wrote:
My LS didn't provide me this info, but a highly esteemed publication, I think ATL, mentioned it once. I think the numbers they gave were something like it was a normal distribution of depressed people in the 0Ls, and by 3L year it was like 4x as high.


That sounds about right, but I think it goes back down after law school, so that while it is still higher than the general population in lawyers (significantly higher), it isn't as bad as it is in law school.

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YankeeFan2
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Re: How do I know if I will succeed in law school?

Postby YankeeFan2 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:31 am

I also know a lot of people with great grades who were lazy as shit, people with terrible grades who seemed to study both hard and efficiently, and people who study equally hard for everything, but get some good grades and some bad.[/quote]

This ^^^^^^ causes me to worry.




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