June 28, 2005
How one attorney studied for the bar
A litigator at the place I'm working this summer told us law students her technique for studying for the bar:
She said that BarBri was no help and a waste of money, and that instead she just did as many PMBR multiple-choice questions as possible. She said it helped her learn the patterns in the questions, which was more important than anything else.
(This runs counter to everything I've heard, but it's an interesting theory that might be helpful.)
Career Services Myths and Realities
A reader who is currently writing an article on the subject is looking for your help:
I would love to hear from law students who have had positive experiences with their Career Services Office, address the following questions:
- What are the biggest misconceptions and/or complaints that law students have about their Career Services Office and/or the job search in general?
- What is the reality behind these misconceptions? To what extent do these complaints have any merit?
- What can law students do to make the best use of their CSO's resources and counselors, and conduct an effective job search?
If you've had positive experiences with your CSO, please share! And if you haven't, your responses to these questions could still be helpful (and definitely interesting)—especially the last one about how to make your CSO work for you. The floor, as usual, is completely open.
Law School Survival Kit
Nick at Wisdom's Friend liked Law School Survival Kit by Jeff Adachi. From Nick's post, which contains some of the best advice from the book, it sounds similar to other pre-law books like Law School Confidential. (Via Evan Schaeffer: also in Evan's post, a recommendation for Bramble Bush and a link to an older post about exam tips.)
June 27, 2005
Housekeeping: Recent Comments, Blogroll, & Technorati
In the ongoing quest to keep Blawg Wisdom useful and easy to use the sidebar now contains:
- Recent Comments: Links to the 5 most recent comments, wherever they may be. This could be very useful because it will help you know when someone has added new thoughts or advice on an older post.
- Blogroll: The “Sources of Wisdom” once again contains links to most (I'm sure not all) of the blogs that have contributed to the store of advice here. (It's been broken since Blogrolling.com went for-profit.)
- Technorati:You can now check out who is linking to Blawg Wisdom via Technorati.
Use Blogs to Find A Job
It certainly won't work for everyone, but Lucia Apollo Shaw suggests you might be able to use a blog to get a job. The piece contains some interesting ideas, both about its titular topic and about blogging basics more generally.
How about you? Do you think you'd ever refer potential employers to your blog?
[link via TechLawAdvisor Legal Jobs Blog]
June 26, 2005
Weekly Law School Roundup: Mixin' Cocktails With A Plastic-Tipped Cigar
Hey sportsfans! Welcome to the Weekly Law School Blawg Roundup! As Dave! mentioned last time, we're trying to continue the tradition started by Evan Schaeffer, but you know what? It ain't easy. Somehow Evan always managed to make the Roundup entertaining and enlightening, and that turns out to be a fairly tough thing to do. But while we can't duplicate the magic he made, we can sort of riff on it a little, so here's a bit of what's happening in various small pockets of the law student blogosphere in the heat of the summer:
Like many a recent law school graduate, Expressio Unis is studying for the bar and tracking the relative attractive qualities of the various BarBri lecturers. I can corroborate the fact that Professor Paula Franzese does have ways of making property memorable, but whether her glamor pics have anything to do with it I'm not sure. Speaking of glamor pics, I don't know how I missed this before, but check out all these other, um, “hot” law profs. Where are all the hot men?!? (BarBri aside, this is a common question at many law schools, I hear. People, Dave! and I can't be everywhere at once, ok?)
But it's not all hotness on the bar review circuit. In fact, according to Woman of the Law, studying for the bar pretty much blows, and it sort of sounds like it doesn't help when all of your problems revolve around cocktails. Um, E. McP? How can you study for the bar when you're playing around with your music collection? Oh, and for another diversion, what do you think about women who carry condoms?
Kelly is also studying for the bar (and commenting on instructor appearances), but she's also got a loan consolidation question. Damn. That July 1 deadline is coming right up, people! I have a letter telling me that Sallie Mae's “team of Concierge Specialists” are ready to help you “start saving now” at 800-609-6865! Perhaps we should all give them a call—you think?
Somewhere around the other end of the law school anxiety spectrum, lots of people are waiting to start school this fall. That's where T Sinister sits, poised to start at Harvard in a month or two. He's optimistic and learning all sorts of things about 1L from Madisonian Theory. He's also thinking even further ahead, preparing for his first-year associate gig by reading the Stankowski Reports, courtesy of the inimitable Evan Schaeffer (the father of the Weekly Law School Roundup!).
Speaking of pre-laws (and also pre-pre-laws who have not yet made a firm decision to attend law school), keep an eye on the new Should You Really Be A Lawyer? blog. There's not much there yet, but it could be great as it grows; it's being written by Deborah Schneider, author of possibly the best book for anyone trying to decide whether to make the law school leap.
So where were we? Oh yeah, somewhere in between preparing for 1L and studying for the bar, which means we are .... applying for judicial clerkships! Or not. According to PV, it's a royal freakin' mess, and that's really all I can say about that since I've dropped the ball on it so I'd just prefer to pretend it's not an opportunity I'll be missing, thanks. But hey, applying for clerkships isn't the only thing you can do between 1L and the Bar; you can also join those like the Unreasonable Man who are waiting to hear if they made it onto a journal, or you can join Tony at Parenthetical Statement and decide to get another degree. More school? No thanks.
Elsewhere and more randomly, it seems that Divine Angst is getting baked, although not exactly in the way you might think. Transmogriflaw is blending her legal career back into her life and it appears she's learning to expect the unexpected. (Her blog is becoming an invaluable first-person perspective on the challenges of balancing motherhood with law school and a legal career, for any of you who might be curious about that.) Lawrah is learning about bathroom bureaucracy, Energy Spatula rocked her finals and loves her job, and Bad Glacier survived the needles. Schteino was not pleased with a recent Hollywood blockbuster, Anthony Rickey was at least mostly satisfied with another, and Janine has been enjoying some audiovisual entertainments from the past.
June 18, 2005
Request: What's the Effect of Multiple LSATs?
A reader writes:
How much are my chances going to be hurt by taking the LSAT twice? I did not do well the first time, and will be retaking it to hopefully get a better score.
This seems like one of those admissions questions that really can only be answered accurately by the members of the admissions committees at the schools to which you are applying. However, what I've heard and what makes sense to me is that 2-3 LSATs aren't that big a deal—especially when you show improvement. Perhaps you're right that a score of X won't get as much credit if you got it on your second or third try as if you got it on your first, but it's still an X and shows you're capable of that score.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this? Did you take the LSAT more than once, and if so, do you have any idea how that affected your application experience?
June 16, 2005
Study guide rankings
Law student blogger wt at Expressio Unius has compiled a list of best and worst law school study guides, based on personal experience, in two posts. The study guides cover classes from multiple years, including Con Law, Admin Law, and Evidence.
June 15, 2005
Weekly Law School Round Up
Welcome back the Weekly Law School Round Up! Although I posted this originally on my site, the intention all along was to host it here on Blawg Wisdom and rotate editorial duties... so here's the First Edition. -Dave!
Evan Schaeffer used to perform a valuable community service with the Weekly Law School Roundup. Unfortunately, with his format change, he dropped the feature. Given the number of blogs I read each week, I figured I would take a stab at it, at least for a bit. If people like it, I'll keep it up.
Things are kind of slow on the law student front, what with the arrival of summer. A whole bunch of law students are law students no more: Sua Sponte, Jeremy Blachman, Law Dork, and the Class Maledictorian have graduated. Congrats to you all!
Now, let's see what's cooking with those of us still in hell:
Summer associates are eatin' right... WonL has a round robin welcome dinner as a new summer associate. Meanwhile, Heidi is living large in the Windy City. E. Spat might be busy getting ready for the summer gig, but she still had some time to serve up a little beefcake.
What are you going to wash that down with? Milbarge clues in the unenlightened.
Meanwhile, back in the trenches, Nudum Pactum wants to know... Is nothing holy?
And finally, Jeremy Richey is cooking up something exciting, but I've been sworn to secrecy...
Introducing the Surprisingly Named “Books Category”!
A helpful reader writes:
Would it be at all possible to cross-list some of the posts under a “Books” category (or something similarly titled, such as “Helpful/Recommended/Suggested/Super/etc. Books”), when relevant? I remembered seeing a book on here a while back but couldn't think of the category it might have been under and had to comb through the archives, which took awhile.
Great idea! Please check out the new Books Category and let me know if anything is missing. We'd be happy to add more book recommendations if anyone has them. In fact....
If you've read a book about any aspect of law or law school that you found helpful and worthwhile, please write a short review (from one sentence to dozens—whatever you feel like saying) and send it in via the submission form. Law students are often readers so you'll be doing us all a favor by making sure we have good stuff to read. Thanks!
June 14, 2005
Request: McGeorge or Southwestern?
A reader headed to law school writes in with another “which school” dilemma:
I was offered a seat by McGeorge school of law in Sacramento, and they even offered me $10,000 for my first year, and will pay for my first year books. However, I don't really want to live or work in Sacramento. Southwestern U. school of law has also offered me a seat. They are located in downtown LA, which is where I would like to live and work eventually. McGeorge is ranked higher by the US News ranking, but I really don't want to go to Sacramento. Is the ranking really the most important factor to consider when choosing a law school?
So what do you think? Go with rank and some money in a place you don't want to be, or go to the place you want to be, pay more, and for less rank? Tough choice.
My answer would be to go with the cheaper option, which in this case has the advantage of being better ranked. But I only say that because I know I won't make more than $40k or so when I graduate. If you think you're going to make more than that, money isn't such a big deal. Yet, to make the big bucks, rank begins to matter. So??? Go where you want to go, I say, and make the best of it. The rank difference really isn't likely to be that much of an issue.
Of course that's just my opinion. Any other thoughts? Any readers out there going to either school?
June 13, 2005
Guide to Citing Cases
I had a journal obligation that required writing up a guide to citing cases for our incoming 2L class, which I've put up on my blog. Unlike BCLS's, it just addresses cases (and I just realize it doesn't include a discussion of pinpoints), but it's fairly comprehensive in terms of cases, and includes a fair number of subtleties arising from public domain formats.
June 08, 2005
Bar Exam Prep Notes
Thousands of law students across the country are currently engaged in a two month marathon of masochism known as studying for the bar exam. These recent law school graduates are studying to try to master dozens of subjects for a 2-3 day exam that will determine whether they can join the sacred cabal of licensed practitioners. That's why now is a perfect time to check out these Bar Exam Prep Notes from Maine attorney Scheherazade of Stay of Execution. In addition to recommending an absurd amount of multiple choice practice questions, Scheherazade links to her previous advice about how to prepare for the exam and covers the details of what she did herself, including 2,299 practice questions and approximately 239 hours of real studying. (Yikes!) She also recommends a somewhat unorthodox note-taking style:
I can't recommend enough taking notes that incorporate pictures, color, and space (e.g. a poster, not an outline). It will require you to make decisions about what should go near what else. It will be a little bit more like playtime, so you'll do it. And thinking about what kind of symbol or picture to draw to represent a concept will help you grasp the subject . . . .
As an example, check out her Torts study sheet. Pretty cool, huh?
June 06, 2005
Big Firm or Small Firm?
Relatively new blogger Lawgirl at On Firm Ground recently started what she hopes will be an ongoing series of posts on the differences between working in a big firm vs. working in a small firm. The first installment covers the most obvious difference—you'll make more money at the big firm. But Lawgirl also mentions some smaller details about differences between the two types of workplaces that could be very helpful to those faced with a choice between them.
June 05, 2005
Welcome Wisdom Contributors!
Blawg Wisdom is now being brought to you with the skilled and generous assistance of:
- Kristine of Divine Angst,
- CM of Magic Cookie,
- Schteino of Whatever Remains,
- Ruth of Amicus Curiae, and
- Steve of Half-Cocked.
Welcome everyone, and thanks!
Bluebook Cut to Four Pages!
Law students and lawyers love to hate the Bluebook, their “bible” of rules for legal citation, because it's ridiculously complicated and pedantic. Now you can get the essentials of the Bluebook from the Boston College Law Library in just four pages — right here. It won't get you through cite-checking a journal article, but you could probably get through most of your 1L writing tasks with the information contained in this little guide. [link via Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground]
June 03, 2005
A costs/benefit framework for choosing law schools
The Bricklayer, a few weeks ago, posted his reasons for choosing the University of Miami School of Law. His logic's worth paying attention to: how much do you want to pay for prestige and how much of a difference will it make in your career?
While on that subject, make sure to read Professor Froomkin's comment to the post as well -- which I think makes a lot of sense and is probably even more worth following.
June 02, 2005
Loan Consolidation Information
Unsure about whether you should consolidate your student loans? Kristine at divine angst has a long post with information on what consolidation entails, which loans are eligible, and some of the possible ramifications.