Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

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wiseguy
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Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby wiseguy » Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:56 am

Hey Guys,

I was looking through a couple of interesting articles about medical school and business school about things people wished they knew before attending either type of professional school. In regards to this I just was curious for those of you that attend law school currently what you wish you knew before starting law school?


Thanks

kaiser
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby kaiser » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:09 pm

Definitely do a search through past threads, since there have been many discussions on this in the past. But, I'll give my input anyway.

On a more general level, I wish I had known just how bad the legal market was. I did a bit of research and saw quite a few stories about people who disliked their careers, but I never had an accurate conception of the larger picture with just how difficult the job market is. Things seem to be working so far (as I am set with a summer associate position) so it would be easy to put on some rose colored glasses in retrospect, but I'm not so sure I would have taken the initial gamble from the outset had I known how bad the odds were.

As to more specific and nitty gritty things: I wish I had gotten into a routine of being more disciplined with my time and more organized in general. Would have made 1L year a lot easier. Also wish I had started practice exams even earlier than I did.

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sunynp
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby sunynp » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:07 pm

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=172609

There are more threads like this, you just have to search.

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Pricer
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby Pricer » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:21 pm

1) You do not have to go to class, but it does help. Class is basically review, because you are expected to know the material beforehand. Missing classes isn't as easy as undergrad (where most of the people I know attended maybe 15-20% of classes), but it isn't the end of the world.

2) Your undergrad, undergrad GPA, and LSAT score mean absolutely nothing once you're in. I saw a guy drop out after first semester after spending months bragging about his ivy league education. I've seen people with 4.0s in undergrad make Cs, and I've seen people who got in off the waitlist at the top of the class. Law school is a different beast than anything most of us have encountered. I guess I have seen some minor correlation between LSAT scores and law school grades, but absolutely no connection between undergrad grades and law school grades.

3) Law school GPA is not the only thing that matters when it comes to getting biglaw jobs. I have friends with 1L SA biglaw positions with median grades simply because they knew someone or worked there as a paralegal at some point. Most did one informal interview and were given the position within a week. I have also seen friends well below median get interviews (even 1L spring OCI) simply because they knew someone. Grades will get you jobs, but personal connections are very underrated. I do not mean networking at mixers where you're one of 100 students meeting this lawyer who is annoyed he has to be there, I mean people with family connections or past work experience at the firm do get a preference.

4) No one is entitled to anything. The more you hustle, the better off you are. The people who hustle for class, on average, make better grades. The people who sent out 150 applications have jobs, while the people who sent out 25 applications are sweating hard right now. You made it to law school. Yes, you probably are smart. Yes, you probably are a hard worker. Guess what? 90% of the class is that way. You may notice a definite bottom 5% and definite top 5%, but the majority of the students are on the same level and it comes down to how hard you work and how well you take the test. Take as many practice tests as possible and use old outlines to help you prepare.

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kalvano
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby kalvano » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:51 pm

How much law school sucks.

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beachbum
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby beachbum » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:01 am

Westlaw rewards are fucking awesome, but take hard work and dedication to achieve.

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kalvano
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby kalvano » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:03 am

beachbum wrote:Westlaw rewards are fucking awesome, but take hard work and dedication to achieve.


I like Lexis better. They let you get gift cards with them. Westlaw doesn't.

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beachbum
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby beachbum » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:12 am

kalvano wrote:
beachbum wrote:Westlaw rewards are fucking awesome, but take hard work and dedication to achieve.


I like Lexis better. They let you get gift cards with them. Westlaw doesn't.


Yeah, but I just prefer Westlaw in general. Also, I'm saving up for that sweet, sweet ipad.

Alan
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby Alan » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:09 pm

beachbum wrote:
kalvano wrote:
beachbum wrote:Westlaw rewards are fucking awesome, but take hard work and dedication to achieve.


I like Lexis better. They let you get gift cards with them. Westlaw doesn't.


Yeah, but I just prefer Westlaw in general. Also, I'm saving up for that sweet, sweet ipad.


I have not heard about this. How long will it take you to get the Ipad? how does the reward system work?? i hope you are not joking lol.

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beachbum
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby beachbum » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:55 pm

Alan wrote:
beachbum wrote:
kalvano wrote:
beachbum wrote:Westlaw rewards are fucking awesome, but take hard work and dedication to achieve.


I like Lexis better. They let you get gift cards with them. Westlaw doesn't.


Yeah, but I just prefer Westlaw in general. Also, I'm saving up for that sweet, sweet ipad.


I have not heard about this. How long will it take you to get the Ipad? how does the reward system work?? i hope you are not joking lol.


Lexis and Westlaw give you rewards points for doing searches and for attending training seminars and such. Then you redeem those points for all kinds of things, including ipads. Of course, it takes forever to build up enough rewards points, but whatever, I'm patient.

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bk1
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:00 pm

You can run 1 random search a day to help rack up rewards points. I will probably have enough for the iPad 17 so I've stopped giving a fuck about Westlaw points (and all their other items are crap). Lexis is better since I can easily cash out for $25 AMZ giftcards every so often.

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kalvano
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby kalvano » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:01 pm

Alan wrote:
beachbum wrote:
kalvano wrote:
beachbum wrote:Westlaw rewards are fucking awesome, but take hard work and dedication to achieve.


I like Lexis better. They let you get gift cards with them. Westlaw doesn't.


Yeah, but I just prefer Westlaw in general. Also, I'm saving up for that sweet, sweet ipad.


I have not heard about this. How long will it take you to get the Ipad? how does the reward system work?? i hope you are not joking lol.


41,400 points. It takes dedicated effort to earn that much on Westlaw, they are stingy.

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cinephile
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby cinephile » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:36 pm

kalvano wrote:How much law school sucks.

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reformed calvinist
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby reformed calvinist » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:44 pm

How boring it is.

sparty99
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby sparty99 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:47 pm

cinephile wrote:
kalvano wrote:How much law school sucks.


+ 100,000,000

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reformed calvinist
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby reformed calvinist » Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:48 pm

Also, fiercely guard your hobbies. If you let go of those and fall into monomania, you begin to die inside.

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TheGreatWhiteHorse
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby TheGreatWhiteHorse » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:53 pm

sparty99 wrote:
cinephile wrote:
kalvano wrote:How much law school sucks.


+ 100,000,000


+ Infinity.

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TheGreatWhiteHorse
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby TheGreatWhiteHorse » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:56 pm

reformed calvinist wrote:Also, fiercely guard your hobbies. If you let go of those and fall into monomania, you begin to die inside.


Oh, and THIS.

This happened to me during 1L. I used to draw and write before law school, and I stopped doing both. I was miserable, and wasted more time than I should have.

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spleenworship
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby spleenworship » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:11 pm

TheGreatWhiteHorse wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
cinephile wrote:
kalvano wrote:How much law school sucks.


+ 100,000,000


+ Infinity.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:14 pm

reformed calvinist wrote:Also, fiercely guard your hobbies. If you let go of those and fall into monomania, you begin to die inside.
This is depressing, because I am giving up both of my hobbies (ice hockey and snowboarding) for LS because of the logistics (there are no mountains anywhere near Chicago) and cost/transportation (40lb gear bag and sticks on the subway? No thanks). I hope to hell I find something else worthwhile to fill the time or I am going to be one unhappy rinkrat.

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spleenworship
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby spleenworship » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:16 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
reformed calvinist wrote:Also, fiercely guard your hobbies. If you let go of those and fall into monomania, you begin to die inside.
This is depressing, because I am giving up both of my hobbies (ice hockey and snowboarding) for LS because of the logistics (there are no mountains anywhere near Chicago) and cost/transportation (40lb gear bag and sticks on the subway? No thanks). I hope to hell I find something else worthwhile to fill the time or I am going to be one unhappy rinkrat.


Um.... couldn't you rent a locker at the rink and just keep your stuff there?

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rinkrat19
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:23 pm

spleenworship wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
reformed calvinist wrote:Also, fiercely guard your hobbies. If you let go of those and fall into monomania, you begin to die inside.
This is depressing, because I am giving up both of my hobbies (ice hockey and snowboarding) for LS because of the logistics (there are no mountains anywhere near Chicago) and cost/transportation (40lb gear bag and sticks on the subway? No thanks). I hope to hell I find something else worthwhile to fill the time or I am going to be one unhappy rinkrat.


Um.... couldn't you rent a locker at the rink and just keep your stuff there?
Hockey gear really should be aired out to dry every time you wear it. You can tell who doesn't, because you can smell them across the parking lot. (And it's not just aesthetics...letting your gear rot breaks it down faster and causes it to wear out, and it's also an excellent way to catch staph infections and other lovely bugs.)
That's if rinks even have lockers that can hold a full set of gear+sticks. No rink I've ever been in does.

Other issues: I don't like playing with women and a lone chick trying to join a men's league in a new city is going to have an uphill battle. And paying for league fees with student loans seems less than responsible.

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spleenworship
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby spleenworship » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:27 pm

rinkrat19 wrote: And paying for league fees with student loans seems less than responsible.


Mental health care is an allowed expense under student loans, I believe. But, yeah, that whole gear thing is probably true... in college I knew a guy who played hockey, and his whole truck smelled like his gear when I got rides. Gross.

EliHBCU
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby EliHBCU » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:17 pm

There are some great points in this thread - like not giving up your hobbies and getting both LexisNexis and Westlaw points. (I liked Lexis better because I like the gift cards.)

The things I REALLY wish I had known was to work for Barbri, Kaplan, Thebis(sp?), whatever during law school, so you can get your bar prep for free. At the end of 3 years, knowing that you don't have to pay for bar prep is nice. I wish I had known that from the beginning, it would have saved me $4000.

Some other good tips: "What I wish I'd Known As a 1L": http://thestudentappeal.com/blog/what-i-wish-id-known-as-a-1l

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TheGreatWhiteHorse
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Re: Things you wish you knew before starting law school?

Postby TheGreatWhiteHorse » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:25 am

You paid 4 G's for a bar prep course?




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