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December 17, 2004

Career Planning

JD Bliss interviews Dennis Kennedy about how he developed a career that made him “TechnoLawyer of the Year.” The interview might be helpful for anyone who would like to combine interests in technology and law, but Kennedy also offers more general career advice, including:
Based on my own experience, I’m a strong advocate of seeking guidance from a knowledgeable third party – a career coach, or someone similar, perhaps even a group of trusted advisors – who can help you decide what you really want to do and develop a strategy for doing it.  I acknowledge that it is a very difficult step for any lawyer to leave a firm, but I've met too many unhappy lawyers who feel they are trapped and “can't leave” their firms. I've also learned that if you’re so unhappy at what you’re doing that it negatively affects your health, it’s time to leave. However, it's far better to recognize that you need to make a change before you see health or other consequences. When you decide to make a change, you have to ask for help.

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Exam Horror Stories

Crime & Federalism is collecting Exam Horror Stories. Some of them are great, but they also might be instructive. For example, the moral of C&E's own story is that you should never leave an exam early because that one last skim through the question might be when you notice the issue you missed. If you don't want to look for morals in these stories, perhaps they'll at least make you feel better knowing others have been through exam horrors, too.

Posted by mowabb at 08:13 AM | TrackBack

December 14, 2004

We Can't All Fail

Waiting for the Punchline offers a little finals anxiety control tip:
When I start panicking that I'm going to fail an exam, I look around the room and pick out 10 people who I know are dumber than me or will do worse on the exam. Then I figure, worst case scenario, there's no way the professor would fail more than 10 people in the class, so I'm safe. It really boosts morale, you should try it sometime.
[link via Sapere Aude]

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December 13, 2004

First Rule Of Exam Club

Matt Schuh has just finished his first semester of law school and he has a tip for current law students and law students to be: “quit talking about exams after they're over.” [link via Notes from the (Legal) Underground]

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December 11, 2004

More Study and Exam Tips

Sapre Aude is living up to its promise of being generous with the study and exam tips this week. It didn't quite manage one per day, but hey, it's good to aim high. The tips were: And for fun, Sapere Aude also offers this picture to perfectly capture the feeling of finals. Hats off to Sapere Aude generally for being a great resource for law students everywhere, and particularly for the students at Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. I don't see evidence that Sapere Aude is related to the student government at IU, but law school student governments would still do well to take a hint from Sapere Aude and put up their own blawgs for both the entertainment and edification of their peers. And, hey, they can host those student blawgs at blawgcoop, so it would be an easy thing to do...

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December 10, 2004

School-Life Organizational Dichotomy

Rogue Slayer Law Student describes a successful strategy for organizing notes for an appellate argument and finds that the organizational demands of moot court are threatening to transform her into an organized person in the rest of life, as well. A possible fringe benefit for law students everywhere. So far it hasn't really worked for me, but tomorrow's always another day... [link via Life, Law, Gender]

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December 09, 2004

How To Manage Law School Debt

If you're busy with finals, your student loans are probably the last things you want to think about. Plus, it's holiday gift-giving time; who wants to be reminded that every dollar you spend on gifts is borrowed and will have to be paid back with interest? Oops! I just reminded you, didn't I? Well don't blame me, blame How to Manage Law School Debt and JD2B where I found the link. A sobering paragraph from the article:
As law school tuition rose dramatically in the 1990s, student loan debt climbed to new heights as well. In the 1992–93 academic year, a graduating student left law school with $37,637, on average, in debt. By 1999–2000 it was $77,300, according to the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Loan Repayment and Forgiveness.
The general tips for managing all that debt? Understand how your loans work, budget, pay down your principle (maybe by working at a big firm for the first few years out of school), consolidate your loans at lower rates, investigate LRAPs, deduct up to $2500/yr from your taxes for loan interest payments, and keep your massive debt in perspective.

Posted by mowabb at 07:43 AM | TrackBack

December 08, 2004

How Professors Might Write Finals

Anonymous Law Professor, a new blawgger who claims to be a fictional version of just what the name implies, has written a candid description of how a law professor writes and grades exams. Fascinating, really. You might find some insights that will help you prepare for your own finals this season. Or you might just be horrified or amused. Some beautiful bits to warm the cockles of your heart:
I have some favorites cases that I use over and over again, mainly because they consistently fool significant numbers of first years. . . . I like to have at least one of the cases based entirely on an issue that was only raised in the notes of the case book. Maybe 40% of the students typically have no idea what I am trying to get them to say with respect to this case. I know students do not read the notes, and because of this the students really struggle with this case/issue. For missing this case/issue, the best a student can typically do is a “C” or its equivalent.
Oh, and this should cheer you up as well:
By integrating facts from four cases into one or two essays, I have found that about 30% of the class fails to finish the exam. This is by design. The more students who do not finish, or that fall for my contrived trickery, the easier it is for me to grade (more on grading later--probably as I am grading this semester's exams).
Yeah! That's what we love to hear! The comments on the post are lively, and include a claim that the Anonymous Law Professor is full of malarcky. In fact, another law professor makes that claim. And maybe the whole thing is in jest. Maybe. It says it's by a fictional law professor, right? So just put it out of your head and get back to studying, why don't you? UPDATE: Just noticed Professor Althouse also argues that AnonLawProf is not a law professor, but a law student satirizing a law professor. Just to add grist to the mill, I'll point out that law professors might generally have a certain interest in claiming that AnonLawProf is a fake. That doesn't mean AnonLawProf is legit, it's just a point to consider, because you really need more distractions from studying, don't you?

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December 07, 2004

Outlines and Exam Tip

It may be too late for most at this point, but if you're still looking for outlines for your classes, Sapere Aude is starting an outline bank for all the kiddies at Indiana University School of Law in Indy. That blog's Lucas Sayre suggests other sources for law school outlines include the Internet Legal Research Group and the 4LawSchool Outline Bank. Of course, the best resource for outlines is to ask a friend at your own school who has previously taken the class for which you need the outline, but you knew that, right? Sapere Aude's Kelly Scanlan also offers an exam tip: You already know the answer.
The concept is this: each semester there is only a finite number of subjects around which your professor can craft a test question. And of course, you already know what those subjects are. Check out your syllabus or the table of contents of your casebook. Make a list of possible exam topics and realize that there are less than you may think. Take cues from what topics your prof spent the most time on in class, what topics are most important overall, and what topics appear in old exams (if available) to determine which ones are most likely to be covered this time around.
Good stuff, and there's more where that came from, with more on the way—Kelly promises a tip a day for the rest of the week, so keep checking in.

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December 06, 2004

Message to 1Ls: It Gets Better

Jeremy Blachman offers some unsolicited advice for 1Ls heading into their first round of finals:
Right now is the hardest point, because there's all of this material and no way of knowing where you stand. If you're just worried that you can't do this for three years, that you can't handle it -- you're mere weeks from the end of the semester, and, really, truly, honestly -- the spring is so much better, and 2L and 3L are nothing. No matter how you're feeling now, it's not like that forever.
Meanwhile, Stay of Execution has kindly linked up her past advice on the topic of finals, including: Both Jeremy and Scheherazade are quite right: Your finals will probably never feel like this again. You may never feel like this again. So enjoy the craziness, if you can, and best wishes for a sane and successful finals season.

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December 05, 2004

Schedule time coming right up

While many a law student is thinking finals these days, others are looking ahead. In that vein, the latest Letter to Wormwood over at Three Years of Hell details some strategies for 1Ls facing their first task for 2L year: picking courses.
The joy of 2L classes is that you get to choose the particular brand of torture you will undergo over the course of the semester. Unlike the 1L year, when all students are squeezed into the same Procrustean bed (with the same Socratic pillows), you can now choose seminars, clinics, or more giant lecture rooms. This gives you a couple of strategic choices.
Possible strategies include Misery in November, Misery in December, and contingency plans in case you find yourself doing journal duty.

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December 02, 2004

Writing Appellate Briefs

Reader “Dan” writes: Here is a pithy article (well, ok it's rather long) on writing a good appelate brief. I saw this linked at Ernie the Attorneyand figured it would be good for boning up on brief writing or for One-Ls.

Posted by mowabb at 09:55 PM | TrackBack

December 01, 2004

Lower Stress Bar Review

Sharon Brooks of the National Law Journal offers “tips to help law students get it together during these tying times,” —the trying times of waiting for the results of the bar exam, that is. I assume most everyone who took the bar exam last summer has learned their results, but this is something possibly to file away for future years...

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