Is Law School Work Hard?

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jwinaz
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Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby jwinaz » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:30 pm

Compared to the hardest undergrad course(s) you took, is law school hard?

I'm really surprised how so many people on this site are at top law schools and seem to have a lot of free time to consistently post and chat here. Is this normal?

Any one of you guys pulling all nighters yet?

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dingbat
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby dingbat » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:37 pm

jwinaz wrote:Compared to the hardest undergrad course(s) you took, is law school hard?

I'm really surprised how so many people on this site are at top law schools and seem to have a lot of free time to post and chat here. Is this normal?

Any one of you guys pulling all nighters yet?
yes, but the answer is still no.
Any single law school class I've had requires more work than any semester worth of classes I took in undergrad. That doesn't mean it's hard, though. I've not once broken a 40 hour work week in law school and my grades are fine. The problem with law school is that you're graded on a strict curve, so, for example, one of my classes was set at 3 As and 1 C. If 4 students got everything right (not actually possible), one of them would get screwed.

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PinkCow
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby PinkCow » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:47 pm

I think UG was much harder, but I did math and physics. In any given semester, I had maybe 12+ exams throughout the semester, each one very difficult and time intensive.

In LS, we have maybe 5 classes tops with one exam at the end, and then the rest of the semester spent reading.

I don't know how that even compares.


Edit: I've been playing online poker all night

jwinaz
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby jwinaz » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:50 pm

PinkCow wrote:I think UG was much harder, but I did math and physics. In any given semester, I had maybe 12+ exams throughout the semester, each one very difficult and time intensive.

In LS, we have maybe 5 classes tops with one exam at the end, and then the rest of the semester spent reading.

I don't know how that even compares.

Edit: I've been playing online poker all night


How do you gauge your progress without homework and feedback other than a final exam?

Edit: Are you doing OK so far?

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dingbat
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby dingbat » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:52 pm

jwinaz wrote:How do you gauge your progress without homework and feedback other than a final exam?

Image

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PinkCow
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby PinkCow » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:52 pm

I think that's what makes a lot of people work so hard. I don't really have an answer for you. I just stop when I feel done. Some people stop much later.

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cinephile
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby cinephile » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:55 pm

Around exam season, there a plenty of all nighters. Otherwise, I just find casebriefs online.

In undergrad, you can work really hard and still get an A. In law school, you're competing on a curve so this strategy doesn't really work.

jwinaz
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby jwinaz » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:03 am

When assigned readings, do the profs tell you some things you should look for?

Are there any knowledge/progress checks whatsoever as you read along each night? Do you quiz yourself? Do you go to office hours to ask the prof. about stuff?

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cinephile
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby cinephile » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:05 am

jwinaz wrote:When assigned readings, do the profs tell you some things you should look for?

Are there any knowledge/progress checks whatsoever as you read along each night? Do you quiz yourself? Do you go to office hours to ask the prof. about stuff?


They don't tell you to look for anything. The point of law school is figuring out the point for yourself.

There are no progress checks. But sure, go to office hours.

thsmthcrmnl
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby thsmthcrmnl » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:08 am

jwinaz wrote:Compared to the hardest undergrad course(s) you took, is law school hard?


No.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:10 am

I sort of hate to be this person, but: Don't worry about it. It will make sense when (if) you go to LS. It's organized around a totally different model from undergrad and some people find it incredibly hard, some find it not hard, most are in-between.

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dingbat
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby dingbat » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:12 am

jwinaz wrote:When assigned readings, do the profs tell you some things you should look for?
depends on the prof. One of mine tells you what to look for before class and provides a synopsis of what you were supposed to get out of the reading after class. More common is to use the syllabus (sub-headings) to get the gist of it; some professors give you no clue whatsoever
jwinaz wrote:Are there any knowledge/progress checks whatsoever as you read along each night?
if it's not in the syllabus, the only real check is whether what you got out of the case matches what gets discussed in class about the case
jwinaz wrote: Do you quiz yourself?
that's pointless (until exam prep)
jwinaz wrote:Do you go to office hours to ask the prof. about stuff?
I didn't, but other students did

one thing to keep in mind is that the black letter law is fairly straightforward. Learning the rules is not hard at all (except rule against perpetuities). And there aren't that many of them. Basically, almost everyone in class will know almost every rule come exam time. Thing is, knowing the rule and applying it correctly are two separate things altogether. Will you be able to spot every issue on the exam? Will you be able to apply the rule correctly? Will you be able to explain it succinctly and coherently? None of these require you to quiz yourself periodically or to talk to the professor about a particular topic. Practice exams help a lot (if you're smart about it), talent (for law school exams) helps more. Once you've memorized the rules, studying and memorizing doesn't add anything

drive4showLSAT4dough
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:21 am

cinephile wrote:The point of law school is figuring out the point for yourself.


181

jwinaz
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby jwinaz » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:22 am

dingbat wrote:one thing to keep in mind is that the black letter law is fairly straightforward. Learning the rules is not hard at all (except rule against perpetuities). And there aren't that many of them. Basically, almost everyone in class will know almost every rule come exam time. Thing is, knowing the rule and applying it correctly are two separate things altogether. Will you be able to spot every issue on the exam? Will you be able to apply the rule correctly? Will you be able to explain it succinctly and coherently? None of these require you to quiz yourself periodically or to talk to the professor about a particular topic. Practice exams help a lot (if you're smart about it), talent (for law school exams) helps more. Once you've memorized the rules, studying and memorizing doesn't add anything


Is it that hard to spot an issue or correctly apply a rule? By rule, do you mean a law?

jwinaz
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby jwinaz » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:32 am

Well, last question for me then.

Since you guys don't have assignments that are turned in, I guess you can sort of work at your own pace? In other words, you guys can take, say, three days off in a row and then work 10 days in a row...etc.?

As long as you get it all done and ready by exam time, right? Does that take a lot of discipline?

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dingbat
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby dingbat » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:34 am

jwinaz wrote:
dingbat wrote:one thing to keep in mind is that the black letter law is fairly straightforward. Learning the rules is not hard at all (except rule against perpetuities). And there aren't that many of them. Basically, almost everyone in class will know almost every rule come exam time. Thing is, knowing the rule and applying it correctly are two separate things altogether. Will you be able to spot every issue on the exam? Will you be able to apply the rule correctly? Will you be able to explain it succinctly and coherently? None of these require you to quiz yourself periodically or to talk to the professor about a particular topic. Practice exams help a lot (if you're smart about it), talent (for law school exams) helps more. Once you've memorized the rules, studying and memorizing doesn't add anything


Is it that hard to spot an issue or correctly apply a rule? By rule, do you mean a law?

both and kinda

In a typical exam question, you'll be given a fact pattern that is 1-2 pages long, which can have a dozen or more issues. Odds are, you'll miss a few. Assuming you spotted the issue, you then need to correctly apply the rule, which, again, isn't as simple as it sounds, particularly in light of the fact that different states may have different approaches, so that you would need to argue both the majority rule and the minority rule, or common law versus MPC, restatement, etc.

For rule, it's safe to substitute law, but it's not that simple. A huge chunk of jurisprudence isn't hard set-in-stone laws passed by the legislation, but rather a series of cases defining/refining common law or a series of cases interpreting statutes. Don't get bogged down in the difference, it's meaningless and you'll pick up on it within a few weeks of law school

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stillwater
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby stillwater » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:35 am

law school is a joke. don't self-destruct.

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dingbat
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby dingbat » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:37 am

jwinaz wrote:Well, last question for me then.

Since you guys don't have assignments that are turned in, I guess you can sort of work at your own pace? In other words, you guys can take, say, three days off in a row and then work 10 days in a row...etc.?

As long as you get it all done and ready by exam time, right? Does that take a lot of discipline?

1) if you take too many days off, you won't catch up
2) you really should pace yourself to keep up with either the syllabus or the actual pace at which the professor covers the materials (which might vary wildly)
3) you do not want to still not have finished the reading when you're approaching exam time. It's not like UG where you can cram the night before and be ok; exam prep takes time. Anything less than a month and you're gonna be struggling

Also, this:
stillwater wrote:law school is a joke. don't self-destruct.

jwinaz
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby jwinaz » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:40 am

That's a weakness of mine. I think I do get lazy sometimes when there are no expectations.

I don't like huge stress. But having zero "check points" is kind of hard/stressful too, because you have to have discipline to keep up with no one watching over you. It's a diff. kind of challenge.

My mom always told me don't wait until the last minute to do stuff, but I still did as a kid. :mrgreen:

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:42 am

jwinaz wrote:That's a weakness of mine. I think I do get lazy sometimes when there are no expectations.

I don't like huge stress. But having zero "check points" is kind of hard/stressful too, because you have to have discipline to keep up with no one watching over you. It's a diff. kind of challenge.

Hopefully you have anxiety about getting called on and being found unprepared.

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Drake014
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby Drake014 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:43 am

thsmthcrmnl wrote:
jwinaz wrote:Compared to the hardest undergrad course(s) you took, is law school hard?


No.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:43 am

Well, if you go to class (which I personally recommend, but I know not everyone does), you may well be called upon to answer questions in front of the class. Some profs let you pass, but some don't. So being called on gives you an incentive to stay caught up. (That said: class participation generally doesn't count towards your grade - your grade is based only on the exam, and exams are graded blind - so it probably doesn't matter for your grade if you can't answer when called on. But some profs may mark you down if you're consistently unprepared, and some people prefer to avoid being called out as unprepared/not knowing the answer in front of their classmates.) And if you get behind on the reading it's a pain in the ass to catch up (again, if you do the reading. Some people don't bother and get by with outlines at the end of the semester. Although I think mostly after 1L). Finally, sometimes the material is cumulative enough that if you haven't done the early work, and you don't understand that material, you won't understand what's being discussed later in the course.

But yes, barring getting called on by the prof you can do the work whenever you want, at whatever point in the semester you want.

(Personally I liked to treat 1L like a 9-5 job. Doesn't work when you have writing assignments due or when you're studying for finals, but otherwise its doable. That went out the window 2L just because I did a ton of extracurriculars - otherwise 9-5 would have been even easier, I think.)

(Or, longer version of dingbat; we cross-posted.)
Last edited by A. Nony Mouse on Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

jwinaz
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby jwinaz » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:44 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:
jwinaz wrote:That's a weakness of mine. I think I do get lazy sometimes when there are no expectations.

I don't like huge stress. But having zero "check points" is kind of hard/stressful too, because you have to have discipline to keep up with no one watching over you. It's a diff. kind of challenge.

Hopefully you have anxiety about getting called on and being found unprepared.


Oh, that'd work! I like a bit of pressure. But too much can be overwhelming.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:45 am

I was also going to add that learning to keep up with no one looking over you is a pretty important skill to develop for almost any future job.

jwinaz
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Re: Is Law School Work Hard?

Postby jwinaz » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:46 am

This business about outlines. Are the essentially like Cliff Notes or Spark Notes?




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