August 28, 2005
The Suburban Ecstasies: Like Lambs To...
On a more serious note, public defender Seth Abramson of The Suburban Ecstasies offers more blunt talk about the career options available to law students. This might be especially relevant to 2Ls participating in their on-campus interview program (sometimes known as OCI or FIP) where the options are typically firms, firms, and more firms. Mr. Abramson says:
One comment I keep seeing is, “I like [insert corporate sweatshop here], but they just don't do anything I'm interested in.”
Newsflash, friends: none of the firms do anything you're interested in.
For instance, help people, solve problems, work on behalf of the interests of justice, or, say, do just about anything your parents told you to try and do with your life when you were younger. You know, things that matter.
Posted by mowabb at 05:57 PM
Hoya Slapsa!: Use this form...
Many of you starting law school about this time might enjoy this little bit of humor from Hoya Slapsa! about all the paperwork you've recently been required to file with the various offices of your school. The post is specifically geared toward Georgetown Law, but I saw much the same thing at my own school and I imagine the experience it mocks is a common one. [via the Scoplaw]
August 26, 2005
Law School Woulda Shouldas
Professor Berman points to this great list of responses to the question: “If you could go back and attend law school again, what opportunity do you wish you had pursued?” Professor Berman also offers an answer, as does Professor Hurt at Conglomerate Blog.
Most surprising to me on the list are the couple of comments from people who wish they'd gone to a higher ranked school. From the other regrets we might distill the following advice:
- Don't just go for the money in your job search; explore all the possibilities first and consider clerkships and other opportunities, too.
- Get to know your classmates. You're going to school with amazing people and it would be a shame to finish w/out really getting to know them. They'll also be great for networking later!
- Spend more time talking to professors. They have a lot to offer.
- Even if you work through law school, see if you can find a way to do a legal internship somehow.
- Don't waste your chance in your first year to get feedback from professors on your exams so you can improve in later rounds.
- If you're at a university where you're allowed to take courses in other disciplines, do it—that non-law knowledge could come in handy later.
- Don't worry if you don't make journal; there are plenty of other opportunities and many of them might be more useful to you in the long run.
- Law review is a big deal. Try to get on it at all costs. (!?)
- Do your homework and get as much as you can out of classes
- Ask her out.
Request: What's a spouse to do?
A concerned reader writes:
I'm the wife of a (soon to be) 1L, who will be working full time and attending law school at night for the next four years. We have two children.
I'm going to be “holding down the fort” on the homefront while he concentrates on law school. This means all house-related, budget-related, kid- and family-related things are MINE to handle. I'm a bit freaked about all the stress this is going to ential for me, as well as for him. Are there any sites that might be helpful to me?
I'm not wanting to become a bitter old hag about it, nor am I wanting to end up as a statistic under the “law school claimed their marriage” heading.
Funny, I just talked to Dave! a bit about this very thing. I'll be posting our conversation here on Sept. 5th as part of the back-to-school Blawg Review, but perhaps he'll have some more thoughts he could share before that time. Of course, there are many many people who have wrestled with this same monster, so what do you think, dear readers? Can you offer any tips for the law-student spouse?
Just to get the ball rolling, and because I'm known to stick my nose where it has no business: It sounds a little like Mr. Law Student here might be going a little overboard in dumping all the domestic business on the spouse. I mean, he's going to be busy, sure, but surely he'll be able to help out a little, won't he? But I know nothing. Please! Those who know, share!
August 23, 2005
Accepted Admissions Almanac: Law School Admissions
One of the first steps to a legal career is getting into law school. College and graduate school admissions consultant Linda Abraham offers a good collection of links and tips about doing just that (and more) on her Accepted Admissions Almanac in the Law School Admissions category. Ms. Abraham has been blogging for over a year so her posts cover a good range of topics related to law school, from admissions essays to LSAT prep to letters of recommendation to how to deal with waitlists (there are many more posts on each of those topics—the posts I've linked are just a taste).
A few more highlights include this post about the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), another post linking to an article about “a ten-year study of new lawyers in the first three years of their career,” and a recent post about law school rankings.
Thanks to Ms. Abraham for offering such a helpful blog for those thinking about attending law school! I hope she's finding that the blog is building her business because it's definitely a good resource.
WonL: What exactly is “success” in law school?
After recently participating in a “Law School Survival Skills” panel, WonL reflected on her first year and what makes it so hard for many students. Summary: It's hard.
Law school is another world, one in which hard work does not always pay off. That can be a really hard thing to accept. You can put in hours upon hours of work or preparation and not make that skills board or not do well on an exam. You sit there, stunned...so sure that you had nailed it this time. Then, you begin to question things and the worst part is just not understanding what went wrong. I am not even sure there is an explanation most of the time. You wonder if it's even worth putting forth the effort anymore. But then, you turn around, start the cycle over again and just keep on trucking. That's why you are in law school in the first place, your ability to keep on trucking. Everyone talks about “succeeding in law school”. Perhaps success is just getting through it.
This may not be true for everyone, but for a lot of law students, WonL might have hit the nail on the head—success is just getting to the finish line. The post also ends on an up note that's worth checking out. Thanks for the candid reflections, WonL.
August 20, 2005
Scoplaw: Off the Cuff Advice
Some Off the Cuff Advice from the Scoplaw on starting law school:
Part of that first year overwhelming feeling is that at the very beginning you’ll be trying to learn several things at once: you’ll be learning about the institution you’re in, it’s various written and unwritten rules; then there’s the way the law is organized and presented; then there are the “big issues” that the law touches up on. It gets much easier as you go. Keep telling yourself that.
The post is specifically for those starting Section 3 at Georgetown, but just about any 1L at any school could benefit from the advice it contains.
A Lawyer Talks Straight About Law School
David Giacalone, f/k/a the Ethical Esquire, offers some candid advice about how best to approach law school and a career in law.
Because we're all adults, I'm going to be totally frank in this short homily to new law students: Your decision to attend law school is very likely to be one of the riskiest that you will ever make in your life. Law school will test your stamina and your sanity, leave you with a mountain of debt, and prepare you (some say rather poorly) for a profession that is universally disliked, and is rife with dissatisfied, self-loathing and depressed individuals, who feel helpless to redeem their lives and selfesteem.
Sounds like fun, doesn't it? And maybe you've heard some or all of this before, but really, the rest is worth your time. It's not just a “don't go!” warning, but a “go with your eyes wide open” warning and includes some tips about how to make the most of it if you decide it's for you. [link via Jeremy Richey's Blawg]
August 11, 2005
Enjoy Law School and Stay Sane
Sharing the benefit of experience after recently graduating and taking the bar exam, Shelly from The Menagerie offers up 15 straight-talking tips for enjoying and staying sane in law school. More cookies!
Shelly has also collected the other tips she's offered about law school over the years so you can find them all in one place. Enjoy!
[link via Jeremy Richey]
The Machiavellian Law Student
Blogger, podcaster, and general troublemaker has started a series of posts called The Machiavellian Law Student which contain exactly what the title suggests—a Machiavellian approach to success in law school. The tips so far are probably especially appropriate for 1Ls, so if that's you (or soon will be), check it out. I wish I could say that these tips are just jokes, but these strategies would probably work pretty well in many cases. I especially like this line:
Law students are easy to manipulate and gravitate towards excess.
So true. How else could we be suckered into paying $150k for three years of law school?
August 07, 2005
Chapman v. Southwestern?
Reader Daniel writes:
I am torn between Chapman and Southwestern. I keep hearing bad things about SW on lawschooldiscussion.org. Chapman, although much less known, seems to be a happier place and is new. But I can't resist how nice the entertainment law looks in those glossy pages of SW's viewbook, not to mention its massive alumni network.
WHAT TO DO?! Any SW students out there want to give me some input?! I really need some candid comments on the school, the good, the bad, the ugly. If you want to email me personally, please do.
Any Chapman students out there with some input about their experience at the school?
So hey, can anyone help Daniel out here?
August 04, 2005
Five minutes vs. a whole year? You decide.
With a synopsis like this, who needs three years of law school?
Hey, fellow 1Ls-to-be: we can skip straight to 2L now!
Hat tip to JD2B.