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September 29, 2004

Don't Sweat the Job Search

Rufus of Running for Lawyers, guest-posting on Notes from the (Legal) Underground, has some advice for law students on career planning. He says:
"Careers like lives have twists in them. You really shouldn't plan too much beyond doing the best job you can and being alert to opportunities and open to possibilities."
Rufus advises law students to "calm down" about their job search. And once you've found a job, realize that "a job is not a marriage . . . If you don't like your first job, or if it turns out to be the wrong practice area for you, then look for another one." That, and much more, in Rufus's post.

Posted by mowabb at 07:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 28, 2004

Want to be A Law Professor or Judicial Clerk?

University of Wisconsin law professor Gordon Smith has begun a series of posts on faculty recruitment. It promises to be filled with good information for all you aspiring law professors, so be sure to check back at his blog to follow along. I'll try to catch the installments as they come out and post them here. Part II discusses the AALS Faculty Appointments Register, revealing that over 1,000 people apply to become law professors each year, as well as many more interesting details about the applicant pool. (Note: " a PhD does not punch your ticket into law teaching." Part III discusses more of the details about the candidate pool and how various factors may be weighed by hiring committees. This includes some comments on judicial clerkships, and it's followed up with some insider's perspective from a Wisconsin appellate judge. More to come, I expect...

Posted by mowabb at 09:08 PM | TrackBack

September 27, 2004

Request: Extracurricular Reading?

Neo Tokyo Times is wondering if there's any reading a good law student should be doing outside of what's assigned. He writes:
Now, the big question I have to ask myself, and you fair reader, is what kinds of outside reading are the most useful? I've been skimming through some of the referenced law review articles in our casebooks, but oftentimes the longer and more extensive articles start discussing increasingly obscure minutia well beyond the scope of my classes. And some of the professor's articles are similarly obscure. Should I be spending extra time on treatises? Headnotes, or those sort of commercial guides? I'm definitely going to start progressively outlining every week, so that the material is fresh during my outlining process, but I don't think that'll take much more than a few hours on the weekends. Anyhow, I think my next minor project is to research and discover the processes people use to achieve excellence as law students.
Hm. That's a puzzler. I don't recall having enough time as a 1L to do a lot of "outside" reading. I couldn't even keep up with the "inside" reading. So I'm obviously not the person to ask, because I'd say that the only outside reading that's useful is any that you need to help you understand the inside reading, but if you can do all the inside reading and get in your head in an easily accessible fashion, you're good. Save the outside reading for the summer, or ... later, anyway. But like I said, I'm not the person to ask. Anyone have any ideas for NTT? If so, you can leave them here, or in the comments on his post. Oh, and NTT, as you discover the processes people use to achieve excellence as law students, please share!

Posted by mowabb at 10:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 26, 2004

Legal Theory Lexicon

What's the "reasonable man" all about? What are hypotheticals and why do law professors use them so much in class? What is "textualism," anyway? Law Professor Lawrence Solum explains these topics and many more in his Legal Theory Lexicon. I can't believe I'd never seen this before—it's an incredibly good resource! Thanks to Professor Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy for the tip.

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September 25, 2004

Request: Personal Statement v. Statement of Purpose?

Here's an "applying to law school" dilemma for you. CM writes:
I have a question about applying to law school, not law school itself. The applications I've seen are vague about the personal statement topic, so I wrote an essay about why I want to go to law school and how my past experiences fit in. I was hoping I could use it for all the schools I'm applying to. I just read an article on vault.com about the difference between a personal statement and a statement of purpose -- one is about you as a person, the other is about why you want to go to law school. The article recommended keeping these two separate, and trying to figure out which one a school wants based on the application. That's news to me. So my question is, should I write another essay that's more personal and doesn't talk much about law school? And should I have one of each type of essay to send to different schools, or is it okay to use the same one?
I wrote about personal statements here during my own application process, and I still think the advice quoted there (from a book by Donald Asher) is pretty good. The long and short of that is there's no formula; what works for you and seems to "fit" with your application and make it shine is going to be different from what worked for me, but if you're "honest and forthcoming" you're on the right track. Can anyone offer more helpful advice for CM or respond to his/her specific questions about the difference between a personal statement and a statement of purpose? Does anyone know any admissions counsellors who might be willing to respond to something like this?

Posted by mowabb at 01:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

In praise of "older" law students

Jeremy Richey has a message for law students "in their thirties, forties, fifties, etc.": Welcome! As Jeremy explains, the "older" law students he knows are friendly and successful in law school. If you're thinking about going to law school but are worried you're too old to fit in or succeed, please read Jeremy's post!

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Measuring Competitiveness

In response to this request from Sui Generis, Nuts and Boalts offers:
A few ways you can measure relative comeptitiveness among law schools using the schools' own policies. Of course this is probably about as valuable as location of water fountains or emergency evacuation plans.
I'd say it's much more helpful than the location of water fountains ... unless you're really thirsty. Thinking about more about this topic, I think the competitiveness variable might depend somewhat on what you want to do w/law school and your legal career. If you're hoping to be top of class, law review, big firm job, and all the trimmings, every school will be competitive for you b/c you'll have to fight like hell w/the other people who want the same things. If your goals are different (say, if you want to do public interest law and aren't bothered by a 3.0 GPA and less than $100k in salary on graduation), you should be able to find a good group of peers at most schools who share your goals and will be less cutthroat about things. If this is true, a school's support for public interest might be some indication of how competitive you'll find it, but this is pure speculation.

Posted by mowabb at 01:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 24, 2004

A kind of lame effort...but at least I tried! I'm busy, OK???

OK...it's time for the Friday Funnies and I just realized right now that it's Thursday night, I've been busy like crazy the past couple of days due to obligations this last week before school starts, and I haven't been keeping up with my daily blog stalking reading. So, thankfully, a reader sent in a link to this funny post over at Nuts and Boalts...enjoy!

Additionally, I guess it's not really a Friday Funny, but as a 2L who is always kind of thinking about classes and what to take, even if just in the back of my mind...this post over at Begging the Question is a wonderful walk down registration memory lane by Milbarge. Great advice!

I'm hoping to have some time tomorrow to find and post some other funny stuff -- I don't want anyone to think I don't take my job as Queen of the Friday Funnies seriously...as always, if you, the loyal readers of Blawg Wisdom, see something funny (or write something funny) be sure to shoot us an email and let us know so we can post it!!

PS: I knew I could count on him...check out the Nine Master Types of Clerkships over at Jeremy's.

Posted by energyspatula at 12:23 AM | TrackBack

September 23, 2004

Request: Measuring Competitiveness at Law Schools

Sui Generis writes:
Much like "k" at "I hate stupid people," one of the most important things I'm looking for in a law school is a cooperative (or at least non-hostile) student environment. In general, I thought this post sounded like really good advice but it got me to wondering: What is the easiest/most reliable way to learn how competitive a school really is? Thanks!
So does anyone have any suggestions on this? It seems like a tough question because just about everyone I could think of to ask (current students, professors, administrators) would seem to have a sort of vested interest in answering more one way than another. Also, everyone has their own experience; where one student will say School X is hyper-competitive, another student may say the same school is chill and cooperative. So are there any statistics or reliable sources measuring the competitiveness variable?

Posted by mowabb at 08:09 PM | TrackBack

Outline with an Outliner!

Have you ever felt like MS Word is a little less than an ideal application for note-taking and outlining? If so, Preaching to the Perverted offers a review of outliners and note-taking software for One-Ls:
There are several products marketed towards the law student, designed to make you more productive in note taking, outlining, briefing, etc. There are three products that I looked at for this exercise, all are “outliners” if we use that term liberally. For this review, I looked at StoreLaw Outliner, Juristudents, and NoteMap.
Read the full review for pros and cons of each package. If you use a Mac, I've also written a few thoughts on Juristudents and note-taking software for the Mac generally.

Posted by mowabb at 07:12 PM | TrackBack

September 21, 2004

Firm Summers

For those 2Ls (like Serious Law Student) currently in the midst of interviewing for summer positions at firms, Professor Yin offers his thoughts on his own interview experiences. His important point—"getting one really good offer may be better than getting two or more good offers"—seems to echo a similar point made by Yeoman Lawyer (as noted here the other day).

Posted by mowabb at 06:31 PM | TrackBack

September 19, 2004

If they only knew then...

Although not a direct response to CP's request, lawgeekgurl recently posted some thoughts for those considering whether to go to law school. An excerpt:
So you want to be a lawyer? Are you insane? Check that, you ARE insane if you are thinking of a law career. Have you sought treatment? If you've already decided treatment is not the answer, well, okay, here are my tips on what to expect upon entering law school, and some websites that might be of use to a newbie law student.
The rest includes links to some other helpful sites (including Blawg Wisdom—thanks!) and lots of tips that really seem geared more toward those who have already decided to go to law school and want some attack strategies for the first year. Speaking of attack strategies for the first year, don't miss If I only knew then... by the Uncivil Litigator. Great advice about getting practical experience while in school and why you should think carefully about picking your classes. Includes helpful comments from readers, as well. See also: A good strategy for those thinking about law school but still unsure is to just read blogs by lawyers for a few days, explore the archives, get an idea for what they talk about, how they talk about it, and see if that seems like something you'd want to do and be and think about, etc.

Posted by mowabb at 11:03 AM | TrackBack

September 18, 2004

Request: Is law stable, and what is it really like?

This just in from "CP" on the Wisdom Request Wire:
I'm a network admin right now, but am afraid that the computer/IT industry is going downhill or will go even more downhill than it already has been going downhill. My question is: do you think the legal field is a more stable one in the long run than computer/IT? I don't see too many 50+ year old IT professionals, unless they're in management, but I do see a lot of lawyers in their 50s and still enjoying what they're doing (well, "enjoy" is such a dodgy term... just joking). Also, where can I find info on what it's actually like to be a lawyer on a day to day basis? I've checked out two websites that friends recommended: Vault.com and WetFeet.com, and while they do have attorneys writing about what they do, it somehow still doesn't seem to let me know what it's "really" like. I'm mostly interested in working for a corporate law firm. Arguing cases in court isn't my thing. (I hope that doesn't mean I can't become a lawyer? Gulp.) Thanks in advance for all your help and advice!
If you have thoughts or comments that might be helpful to CP, please respond in the comments to this post, or in a post on your own site that pings this post (via trackback), or just submit your wisdom via the Submit Wisdom Form. Thanks!

Posted by mowabb at 10:23 AM | TrackBack

September 17, 2004

Letters to Gunners

One of the most oft-mined veins of law school humor is known as "make fun o' the gunner!" Stories about the people (usually male) who really couldn't shut up to save their lives, the kiddies with the spring-loaded hands that keep shooting up in class even when said hand interrupts the professor mid-sentence and derails everyone's train of thought. Yeah, those are gunners, and they're so fun to mock it never seems gets old. Want proof? See Hoya Slapsa's Open Letter to the Section Four Gunner. It's short, and so very sweet. For more wide-ranging and sarcastic advice for both gunners and several other, um, "special" types of law student, Transmogriflaw kindly offers For the Special Students. Of course, we all know that any post that begins with compliments about Blawg Wisdom is a post that deserves the immediate and close attention of the masses. Flattery (and good sarcasm) will get you everywhere. See all this attention gunners get? It's really because we love them. Here's to you, law school gunner guys (and girls)!

Posted by mowabb at 12:26 PM | TrackBack

OCI, for those days when private humiliation just isn't good enough.

Well, it's that time of the year again. No, not Talk Like a Pirate Day (well, not ONLY that)...On Campus Interviews! So much fun for all involved. Really. So, this week's Friday Funnies are dedicated to the fun, the glamour, the overwhelming feeling of complete inadequacy known as OCI.

First thing you have to do is get an interview. I'm gonna help you out with that over at Favorable Dicta with "OCI: Where Grades Are The Most Important Thing About You...EVER!"

Next, once you have some interviews scheduled, head on over to Wings and Vodka for some Tips on Interviewing. Tip #4 "Think Before You Speak" is especially helpful when you get an extra-special question that comes from deep within the tortured soul of an interviewing attorney. For Example:

"So, tell me what high school was like?"

OR

"What do you think will be the worst thing about this job?"

And, should you be looking for advice on job-hunting done in the evil devil on shoulder vs. sweet angel on shoulder format, well then, Jeremy has just the post for you. Also, as I am a HUGE stalker fan of Jeremy's, you can read all of his OCI advice (and pretty much everything else, sorted categorically) here.

If you follow this advice, then you can have a soul-numbing successful OCI experience to reminisce about in therapy with friends and family for years to come.

Posted by energyspatula at 08:00 AM | TrackBack

September 14, 2004

Super Size The LCD

In a response to yesterday's request for advice on buying a laptop for law school, Nuts and Boalts offers Super Size My LCD Screen, "a non-engineering perspective on laptops for law school." There you'll find a thorough discussion of many different variables to consider when buying a laptop, from hard disk size to quantity of RAM to weight to, yes, the size of the screen. Thanks to all the other good souls who have left such great advice in the comments to the original request. This is all something of an experiment and it appears to be working just great so far—thanks to you! So, um, thank you!

Posted by mowabb at 07:29 AM | TrackBack

September 13, 2004

Laptop Recommendations?

Blawg Wisdom's first ever Wisdom Request reads:
Hello all! I am a senior in college planning on attending law school in the fall of 2005. I have no computer and desperately need one NOW. My question is this: is there a certain kind of laptop that is recommended for law students by law schools? I want to get a laptop that I can use for the next four years. I know next to nothing about computers; all I know is that I want a PC that can play Sims 2! Thanks.
Any suggestions anyone? If so, please write about it on your own blawg and submit the link, or just reply in the comments.

Posted by mowabb at 11:44 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Wisdom Requests

Introducing a new feature here at Blawg Wisdom: The Wisdom Request Form! This form is an opportunity to connect two different types of Blawg Wisdom readers: People with questions and people with "answers" (or responses to questions, anyway). People With Questions: If you're someone thinking about going to law school, or if you've decided to go, or if you're already in law school, the Wisdom Request Form is for you. The next time you find a law-school related issue that you have questions about, visit Blawg Wisdom, fill out the request form, we'll post your question, and wisdom will soon return to you (we hope) via the generosity and kindness of the law students and lawyers who have dealt with that issue in the past. These wise people will respond to your query on their own blawgs and submit the links, or they'll just reply in the comments to your query, OR they'll respond directly on the submission form, and we'll collect them into a future post on Blawg Wisdom as soon as we can. People With Answers: If you're a current law student or practicing attorney, check back with Blawg Wisdom once in a while to see if there are any requests (they'll be collected in a "Requests" category). (We may also send emails w/specific requests if we know of people who might be especially well qualified to respond.) Then, either respond to the request on your own blawg and submit the link, or reply in the comments to the request, OR post a response directly to Blawg Wisdom via the submission form. As always, you'll be helping other law students have an easier time with the challenges of law school, and you may also learn a little bit yourself in the process of thinking and writing about the issues raised by the requests. So request and submit to your heart's content. Blawg Wisdom loves you.

Posted by mowabb at 06:38 AM | TrackBack

September 12, 2004

Top Five Tips for First-Year Students

Law.com offers a list of Top Five Tips for First-Year Students, "simple rules every law school newbie needs to know to get ahead." They include:
  1. Make upperclassmen friends.
  2. Research the course evaluations.
  3. Research the grade distributions.
  4. Intern for credit.
  5. Be confident.
Check out the whole post for more explanation of each tip. [link via JD2B]

Posted by mowabb at 10:25 AM | TrackBack

September 10, 2004

Outline for Issue-Spotting

Evan Schaeffer -- Illinois attorney and friend to law students everywhere -- offers a description of his method of outlining and studying so as to emphasize issue-spotting, "a key component of exam-taking that was overlooked by many of my fellow students."

Posted by mowabb at 09:42 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Application Checklist

The Princeton Review offers an application timeline and checklist to help guide people through all the steps of taking the LSAT, writing essays, and applying for schools. Of course, they'd like you to take some Princeton Review courses along the way, but that's not required in order to benefit from these materials.

Posted by mowabb at 09:39 AM | TrackBack

September 07, 2004

Legal Times Special 1L Section

It's that time of year again, and Legal Times has a special section dedicated to stories and advice for new and returning law students. You probably need to register for a free trial to view the articles (unless you're lucky enough to still be using the free subscription from the firm you worked for two years ago), but if you get in you will find the following:
  1. General advice for OneLs from a recent GW grad (mostly lame, like "be confident," or obvious, like "talk to upperclassmen," but not altogether useless)
  2. A couple articles about women and what they've done since they started attending law school in greater numbers, and why there still aren't enough of them
  3. A story about that online law school and how they conned Justice Scalia into teaching a class
  4. What seems to be a Georgetown press release about their new moot court, disguised as a fluff piece
  5. A few other assorted musings
[Wisdom via Scott at L-Cubed]

Posted by mowabb at 10:51 PM | TrackBack

September 03, 2004

It's Friday, so it must be funny. Except this title which is not funny at all. Give me a break though, it's late, and I haven't had a Diet Coke in almost four hours.

Hello, it's me, Energy Spatula, back for another round of Friday Funnies.

First, we have Alan. Alan is the author of a blog called A Season of Mists and he has a very funny two part series on the Top Ten Worst Answers to Interview Questions...(Part One) (Part Two).

Next up is Soupie. Soupie is having some trials and tribulations in his primary role as a hero of the intergalactic lawfighter variety. Let's all wish Soupie (and his groove) a speedy return to full-on Master of the Universe status.

Third (thirdly?), Buffalo Wings and Vodka would like you to know " What The Supremes Are Doing Over The Labor Day Weekend." I'm glad to see O'Connor will be drunk-dialing old boyfriends, that's probably what I'll be doing too, at least if past history of holidays that include beer are any indication.

Last but not least, Justin R. Adin, of J. Concurring in Dissent, has a great post over at Notes from the (Legal) Underground, titled " Advice to 1L's: How To Read Weblogs During Class." The most important advice any 1L will ever get. Ever.

Posted by energyspatula at 08:00 AM | TrackBack

September 02, 2004

Spelling Counts!

Sure, finals are still far off in the distance, but BitingTongue has some easy to follow advice for the meantime (know how to spell your professor's names).

Posted by mowabb at 12:53 PM | TrackBack

September 01, 2004

Memo Issue Statements

Raymond Ward, an appellate lawyer and legal writing teacher from New Orleans, discusses how to write an issue statement for a memo and goes beyond asking the "shallow" questions (or, the B- paper) to developing an A+ worthy issue statement. [Wisdom via Not For Sheep.]

Posted by mowabb at 05:26 PM | TrackBack