May 19, 2007
Dearth/Death of Wisdom
Dear Visitor to Blawg Wisdom,
This site is now in mothballs. It was a neat little thing for a couple of years, but it seems to have reached its own logical conclusion many moons ago. If you're thinking about going to law school, or if you're in law school now, you might still find something in the archives that is useful or helpful, but comments are now closed and it is unlikely you'll ever see another post here. If you'd like to contact the blog's authors/creators, you can still do so via the “contact” link at right.
So long, and thanks for all the
May 16, 2006
A 2L Gives Back
Austin, a 2L at Chicago-Kent, is working for CALI (The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) and has started a blog to post some of his experience/advice for incoming law students. Topics so far have included: laptops in law classes, dealing with the socratic method, moot court, and the curve in law school. He'll be adding more as time goes by, focusing primarily on the first year experience and sharing what he learned to help make the process easier for others. Kudos to Austin—that sort of giving spirit is exactly what Blawg Wisdom is all about!
Audacity's Three Bar Tips
Just in time for bar review season, Audacity recently linked to thesethree tips for bar exam preparation:
- Do many multiple choice questions, but pay attention to the answers.
- Forget the essays, know the outlines.
- Know who you can and cannot talk to.
May 12, 2006
Advice for the Incoming Class of 2009
3L Epiphany offers a nice collection of Advice for the Incoming Class of 2009:
This advice is from members of the graduating Class of 2006, Ohio State University (Moritz Law School), and is intended as a gift to the Moritz Class of 2009. The majority of the advice is also applicable to other law schools.
If you're headed to law school you'll probably find something interesting there...
April 16, 2006
How to Find a Public Interest Law School
Blonde Justice offers some great advice on how to find a law school that will best prepare you for a career in public interest law. Definitely worth a look if you're thinking of heading in that direction.
UPDATE: Blonde Justice has posted a followup to the original post with more great advice.
April 14, 2006
Alternative Career Paths
Will Work for Favorable Dicta recently hosted a discussion about alternatives to traditional law jobs and how best to find and secure such alternative employment. The discussion continues here.
I can second one of the suggestions a reader made there and recommend What Can You Do With a Law Degree?: A Lawyer's Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside & Around the Law by Deborah Arron. I first looked at this book in the fall before I applied to law school as a way of making sure there were career paths available in the law that I would enjoy. I still highly recommend it for that purpose—it can be a big help in letting you know what you're getting into before you take on all the debt of law school. But it also has a chapter devoted to finding alternative opportunities—jobs outside the legal mainstream—and how to spin your experience into something that those alternative employers will like. I think the book is well worth its price for any law student who is not certain he/she wants to go the usual “biglaw” or firm route, but if you're not convinced I'm sure you can find a copy in your school or local library.
April 10, 2006
Advice for Parents Going to Law School
- Absolute organization.
- Buy two of everything so you never run out.
- Make the slow cooker your best friend.
- Arrange back-up day care.
- Stick to your schedule, and make time to be a parent.
- Consider going part-time.
- Cut your books!
Looking Back On 1L
Kristine of Divine Angst is almost done with her first year of law school and offers a look back at things she wishes she'd known before starting law school. Those lessons include:
- Law school is no harder than any other school.
- If you make law school the only thing you do, you will not be happy.
- Even if it's hard, you have to keep your perspective.
- Finally, enjoy yourself as much as possible.
Kristine's exercise is one we might all try to mutual benefit. What lessons do you wish you'd known before starting law school? Before starting 2L? Before starting your job hunt? Etc?
April 04, 2006
Be an effective high-tech lawyer for free!
Evan Schaeffer offers a heads up:
This year, for the first time ever, law students can attend the ABA Techshow for free. It's taking place in Chicago from April 20-22.
If you're going to be in or near Chicago on those dates, you might want to check this out. If anyone goes, I'd love to hear what it was like and whether it seemed worthwhile.
Request: Is upper division GPA important to law schools?
Reader “halai” writes:
when applying to law school, is it the cumulative gpa which is taken into consideration or one's gpa in upper division courses only? i ask because i did very poorly my first two years of college, which obviosly killed my cumulative, however, my upper division gpa is not bad.
which is it?
I'm pretty sure most law schools want only your cumulative GPA. They get your transcript and that's going to give them the cumulative. If your undergraduate school breaks out an upper division GPA on your transcript, that's great, but if you're looking at those GPA ranges to determine your chances of getting into Your Dream Law School, you should consider your cumulative GPA b/c that's what Dream Law School's admissions folks will be looking at.
Can anyone add to that? Do you know of any schools who look at just an upper division GPA?
This is no reason to despair. Your personal statement is a great place to emphasize your great upper division GPA and to explain how it shows that you matured during college and are now on the same path of excellence that you will follow in law school. My understanding is that most law schools like to see that kind of development so this could end up working very much to your advantage.
How to use the rankings to choose your school
Professors Solove and Filler have posted a great summary of the past decade of US News Rankings of law schools, along with some great advice about how students should use that information:
When students choose law schools, they should remain focused on the forest and not get lost in the trees. Focusing on year-to-year changes can be misleading. For example, in 2006, Wash. U. moved up five spots from 24 to 19. But a year earlier, it dropped from 20 to 24. What is the real Wash. U? Over time, one can see a dramatic change -- Wash. U was in the high twenties and early thirties until it leveled out at 25 in 2002. In another example, if one looked at GW in 1998, it was ranked 20. But at that time the 20 was an anomaly, as Wash U was 24 in 1997 and 25 in 1998. After 2004, GW has been consistenly ranked either 20 or 19. To the extent that the US News rankings have any value at all, it is evident only in long-term trends, not in yearly fluctuations.
There are other instances where the US News rankings are simply game of musical chairs for certain groups of schools. For example, Berkeley, Virginia, and Michigan have been have engaged in a US News game of cat-and-mouse over the past decade. When one school drops, students may become crestfallen. Prospective students may shift their preferences. However, over time, the ordering of these schools appears just to shuffle around a lot, with no discernible pattern. Relying on the US News rankings to choose among these three law schools is like choosing one's hometown based on today's weather report.
I'm personally not convinced that even using long-term U.S. News trends as a guide is worth much, but I will defer to the profs on that.
March 04, 2006
1L Summer: Judicial Externship or Firm?
An enquiring mind wants to know:
Which job should I chose? I am a first year and have been put in the very lucky situation of accepting between a firm and a judicial externship for my first summer job. But I am not sure which one I should take. I really like both offices. The ppl were really friendly in both cases. I met with the judge and with the managing partner in both situations and they were very likable and seemed like they'd give me lots of substantive work... any advice? Honestly I am really dumbstruck.
Hm. Like you say, yours is a good problem to have, but I don't see any clear way to resolve the dilemma. Your answer may depend on what you hope to do long-term (after you graduate from law school) and what sort of judge and firm we're talking about. If this is a prestigious federal judge you'd be working for, that makes the externship more attractive. If this is exactly the firm (or the exact type of firm) you'd eventually like to work for, the firm might be the best choice.
If you don't know what you want to do long-term, I'd personally lean toward the externship b/c you might get a better introduction to a wider variety of law there. On the other hand, odds are high that the firm is going to be more fun in terms of having a good time w/other summer interns, getting free lunches, etc.
So that's not much help, eh? Can anyone else offer some perspective?
March 01, 2006
All About Law School
Jeremy Richey offers a short review of All About Law School, “a DVD which gives insight into the law school experience and gives tips for law school success.” In brief, he recommends it for those who have not yet started law school, but doesn't think it will offer much insight for those who have already enrolled and been through a few weeks of the regular law school rigmarole.
February 20, 2006
Are you experienced?
I have this friend... no seriously! Not only do I have friends, but this is actually a post seeking advice for one of them who, like me, is a non-traditional law student. I have a bit of an edge: my wife is an attorney, so I've been able to get some experience from her firm and they've been more flexible about it. My friend has a bit of a harder situation, though. She works full-time, takes classes in the evening (four nights a week) and last year, her husband had a very horrible accident. As a result, she cannot quit her job (the insurance is absolutely necessary) which leaves her in a bit of a quandary for gaining legal work experience.
Now, typically, a law student would either do a summer associate position, or maybe clerk for a firm, etc. Or perhaps a judicial externship, or maybe even work in one of the school's clinics. However, nearly all of those options require some minimal time commitment of 20+ hours per week. When you're a non-traditional student, who has no choice but to work full-time and attend classes in the evening, that means you actually don't have enough hours in the week to participate in many of those options.
So what are some creative ways you've encountered to put some legal experience on the ol' resume that are practical and, more importantly, flexible?
February 13, 2006
pre-law and pondering
A reader asks:
With the same GPA, would law schools give preference to Brigham Young University over University of Utah? Does BYU really make it harder to get good grades? I would be majoring Economics.Now, this is serious pre-law here. It's not clear from the question, but if this reader is a high school student, my first bit of advice would be that he should think about going to college before he thinks about going to law school. In other words, pick your school based on how happy it will make you, not your future law school. If you are happy as an undergrad, you're more likely to do well, make better connections with professors (who can write you recommendations), and come out of college a healthier, more well-rounded person.
As for the specifics between BYU and Utah, I don't really know. I know that law schools do take the prestige of your undergrad institution into account, along with the relative difficulty of your major. How much weight they give those factors, though, is a mystery to all, and is going to depend, at least in part, on what law school you're talking about. BYU's law school might not give preference; Harvard may. I honestly don't know though. Does anyone have any sense of how these two schools play against one another?