February 26, 2005
Timetable for the law school application processChicken Magazine of Magic Cookie offers a helpful step-by-step guide to making it through the convoluted law school application process. CM writes:
I found the application process overwhelming at first (what's this LSDAS thing? When should I take the LSAT?) So I decided to write a schedule for people who are at the same point I was last year around this time.The guide includes a pointer to this Letter to a Young Law Student from Professor Corinne Cooper, a first-year law professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law. Although I don't have time to read it at the moment, it looks excellent. Overall, another terrific resource for 0Ls. I would simply clarify for the absolute neophyte that the timetable starts in late winter two years before you'd actually like to start law school. This is probably the ideal plan (especially ifyou're applying straight out of college) because it provides plenty of time for everything; however, the process can also be condensed into one year if you prefer. Thanks CM!
February 25, 2005
Idiot's Guide: PlagiarismSometimes law professors replace their final exams with a final paper. If you're facing one of those in the coming months, and the deadline starts to get tight, Jeremy Blachman has just the thing for you: The Idiot's Guide to Plagiarism: How Not To Not Write A Paper, sponsored by the Committee for Moral Rectitude. Definitely some good tips there.
February 24, 2005
Brief Review: Should You Really Be A Lawyer?Attorney blog May it Please the Court offers a brief review of the new book, Should You Really Be A Lawyer? The gist:
“Should You Really Be A Lawyer?” is written by a lawyer, for lawyers and law students. It covers the gamut from helping you decide whether you should try to get into law school, stay in once you're there and what you really should be doing afterward. It gives solid guidance on how to deal with the cost of law school, and destroys the bubble that everyone who graduates from law school starts at $150,000 or more (the book pegs the actual average at $61,000). But you'll get no other spoilers here. You'll have to read it and go through the exercises. The authors point out that you're going to spend some 80,000 hours working. Why not invest a few hours figuring out what to do with all that time?It's hard to argue with that, isn't it? UPDATE 3/03/05: Additional reviews at Al Ny the Lawyer Guy (a longer, more in-depth evaluation that's positive overall) and Ernie the Attorney (a very short recommendation). [links via Notes from the (Legal) Underground]
February 23, 2005
Choosing Where to Apply“Law Student” offers an extensive primer on how to find the best schools for you. It explains the concept of safety, target, and reach schools, using the LSAC data search to match your numbers (GPA and LSAT) w/school preferences and past trends, and other factors you should consider in the process.
February 22, 2005
Request: Wireless Access, Everyone?Dave! is engaged in a battle with his law school's IT department. The school is just now rolling out wireless access, but, “they are being draconian about access--only supporting Windows!” So, in feeble attempt to at least gain some insight about what other schools are doing, Dave! appeals to you, gentle readers: 1. Does your school offer wired access to the network in classrooms? 2. Does your school offer wireless network access? 3. (If you know) How do they authenticate for the network? Please leave comments below or on Dave's own thread. Thanks!!
Michigan v. Chicago & UTFoxes for Now posts an email from a Michigan law student comparing Michigan to University of Chicago Law and Texas Law. If you're considering any of these schools, you'll likely find the information at least a bit interesting. And if you find that interesting, you should also read these thoughts from Michigan 2L Heidi at Letters of Marque for a more balanced view of the issues addressed in the email mentioned above. Also check out Foxes' correspondences category for more tidbits about how various schools handle the application and admissions process.
February 21, 2005
Law School Admissions: How much do numbers matter?Hopeful law school applicants everywhere are all aflutter right now with happiness or anticipation because of the acceptances they've already received or because of those for which they're still waiting. The anxiety has sparked several 0L blawggers to speculate on how much the hard numbers (LSAT and GPA) really matter to admissions. Divine Angst rounds up the posts from Foxes for Now, Very Unnecessary, and Bad Glacier.
Georgetown and Section 3Attention everyone who applied to Georgetown (GULC), everyone who might consider applying there in the future, and all those who are in or have finished law school but are less than satisfied with what they found there: The Scoplaw has recently begun removing the veil from GULC's “alternative” first-year curriculum, describing what it is and why you might consider applying. It's great stuff for prospective students, but also for current students and graduates who care about how and whether legal education benefits society (or doesn't). The Scoplaw may be writing more on this in the future, in which case the posts will be collected in the Section 3 Category. 2-24-05 See also: More from one of the Scoplaw's colleagues, including a link to How Law School Can be Different, a wiki “for a group of Georgetown Law students who would like to carry on the reforms to legal pedagogy begun by our professors fifteen years ago.” For what it's all about, see the call to action.
February 20, 2005
Pre-Law ReadingNew 0L blawgger “Law Student” recently published reviews of two books that often appear on pre-law reading lists: One L by Scott Turow and Brush With the Law by Robert Byrnes and Jaime Marquart. “Law Student” recommends both books as good preparation for law school, largely because they provide insight into the emotional and psychological stresses that might be involved. I read both books myself before starting law school and wrote about them here. I found One L less interesting and useful than it seems “Law Student” did, but it still seems almost obligatory to give it a read if you're going to law school. I also mentioned a couple of other books I read before starting school which may be of interest to some of you 0Ls. At this point, with the benefit of hindsight, I'd recommend reading the following books before starting law school: Should You Really Be A Lawyer? (I'm still reading this, but it seems worthwhile so far.) “The Official Guide to Legal Specialties” (Lisa L. Abrams, National Association for Law Placement, National Association for Law Placement, NALP) “What Can You Do With a Law Degree?: A Lawyer's Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside & Around the Law” (Deborah Arron) Those will all help you decide whether you really want to/should go to law school. If you decide to go, I'd also recommend: “Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams” (Richard Michael Fischl, Jeremy Paul)
February 19, 2005
Does Law School Rank Determine Success?Anayat Durrani, writing for LawCrossing, considers whether law school rank determines career success in BigLaw. [link via JD2B] The answer? Yes, and no, leading once more to the apparently universal bit of advice:
“The bottom-line advice I would offer is this: go to the best school to which you are admitted and do as well as you can academically. All this will help in landing the first job. After that, it's what you individually can bring to the marketplace,” said Mr. Wiley.Related: Ambivalent Imbroglio offers more thoughts in school rank and other factors to consider when choosing a school.
What's Best About Being A Lawyer?Evan Schaeffer of Notes from the (Legal) Underground recently asked his readers, “What do you like best about being a lawyer?” Some of you may be surprised to learn he got many many responses (42 at the time of this posting), and the question started tangential discussions on a number of blogs, which he lists here. The best best thing about being a lawyer obviously comes from “Conan”:
To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!Oh, and this is also good, from “Mike”:
Seeing people harassed by the powerful pisses me off. The law generally allows you to sue someone hurting others. It feels good keeping someone out of prison. It's contest living -- Winning feels good. Ability and effort matter -- Lawyers who work to improve generally see tangible results. For me, this matters most of all. I would hate knowing that in 20-years, I would be at the same level of competence as I am now. Lawyers who establish a routine remain routine lawyers. Lawyers who seek excellence achieve it. There is a lot of independence -- Clients give directives and you must follow the court rules, but within those broad confines, you can roam freely. I could never work a job where someone was always looking over my shoulder. There's none of that Marxist alienation crap -- The lawyer's product is his own. It's not created using assembly line tactics. Second to science, the law is the best way to put a productive mind to good use. A big lawsuit (even if the plaintiffs only win coupons) can end a lot of aggravation and cure much injustice.See the above links for more serious (and facetious) takes on the subject. Great reading for the next time you're asking yourself, “why the heck am I doing all of this crap!?”
February 18, 2005
The Practice of Law SchoolThe New York Lawyer (“For lawyers on the verge”) is serializing a new book about law school called The Practice of Law School:
Take charge of your legal career right away -- starting with law school! Find out what to expect, how to succeed at every stage, and how to make your law school experience fulfilling and relevant to your development as a lawyer. We are serializing this book with a new installment every Wednesday. This week: Does law school matter?The first installment explains what the book is about and what to expect. In a nutshell:
A student who approaches law school focused only on what she needs to do to graduate and get a job is likely to find that that is exactly what law school will be to her: a ticket to punch. She will have paid her dues and moved on to what she deems the “real” experience -- the practice of law. However, if she wants a relevant experience, in which her money and time will be spent to her best advantage, and one that is economically and personally rewarding, then she should read this book. By employing the methods presented in this book, students will learn how to take a big-picture, practical approach to applying to and thriving in law school. And that, in a nutshell, is the practice of law school.Sounds pretty good. Check back next Wednesday for more.
Outrageous Things Professors SayTony of Parenthetical Statement recently posted a list of comments he and his classmates received on their contracts exams, which Tony describes as “some of the most blunt, outrageous and snarky comments ever to grace a bluebook.” If you're planning to go to law school, you might want to read these comments and the discussion that follows them where Tony's readers (including some law professors) exchange opinions on whether these comments are typical or helpful. If you're a 1L or beyond, the comments might show you that you're not alone in receiving crazy comments or in thinking that professors can be, um, a bit lacking in empathy.
How to publicize your law student blogHeidi Bond offers some tips on building an audience for your blawg, including sneaky little tricks to make sure all your peers know all about it but think you don't know they know. As Heidi notes, her tips can also help you keep your blawg more secret if you make sure to avoid them. Is this law school wisdom? Sure. What's a law student without a blog? p.s.: The Submit Wisdom form is getting sad that no one seems to be its friend anymore. Please send wisdom! Thank you.
February 13, 2005
Summary of the Law Clerk Hiring PlanAlso from JD2B: The Summary of the Law Clerk Hiring Plan for 2005-2006 is up. If you're a 2L hoping for a judicial clerkship when you graduate in 2006, this is for you. Plan to have your applications in the mail on September 6, 2005. See also the FAQ. If you're a 1L or 0L and don't know if you'll ever want to apply for a clerkship, you still might want to file this in the back of your head for future reference. The 2006 dates are up on the above site, as well, for those of you who really like planning ahead.
Personal Statements, LSAT Blog, School RankFrom JD2B:
- Anna Ivey discusses how to write a personal statement for law school applications.
- The LSAT Blog offers help with LSAT questions and is “written by a pre-law who scored in the 99.9th percentile on the LSAT in order to help you do the same.”
- Ann Israel says you should attend the best-ranked law school to which you are accepted. That's probably true if you're accepted to a top-10 school, and/or if you're sure your main goal in attending law school is making the most money you possibly can. However, if you plan to do public interest work or know you want to build your career in a specific region, I think Israel could be very wrong. Then again, no one's paying for my opinion, so there you go.
February 11, 2005
LSAT Logical Reasoning PrepEugene Volokh is seeking some advice on good study aids for the LSAT:
A friend of mine is planning to take the LSAT, and I'd like to get her a book that can help her prepare for the Logical Reasoning section. That's the only section I'm interested in right now. Can anyone recommend a book that's worth trying on this, or tell me to stay away from certain books?If you have any ideas, please add them to the comments here, or if you'd like some tips yourself, check out what readers have already suggested there.
February 06, 2005
Pacific Legal Writing CompetitionFrom the Blawg Wisdom submission form:
I wanted to let you know about our writing competition. This competition is a great way to practice writing (as if you don't already do enough of that). Even better, if you win, no more need for free pizza for a while. The prizes are $5,000 for first place, with $3,000 and $1,500 for the runners up, so please share this with your student colleagues. Thanks!The competition's sponsor, the Pacific Legal Foundation, says it is “rescuing liberty from the grasp of government” and it quotes James Fenimore Cooper (of “Leatherstocking Tales” fame) on its website. Without digging too deep, those cues suggest a somewhat libertarian organization, so perhaps you should pitch your competition papers toward that end of the field. Or maybe not. Topics and rules are here. Note to Pacific Legal: The second paragraph on your “about” page says that the “abuses of the English monarchy” are “subtle and incremental” today in America. I'm thinking that's not actually what you mean there, just FYI.
Posted by mowabb at 05:29 PM