April 10, 2006

Advice for Parents Going to Law School

Mother In Law offers some terrific advice for parents going to law school. She says “what it takes to handle law school as a parent with kids” is (in brief):

  1. Absolute organization.
  2. Buy two of everything so you never run out.
  3. Make the slow cooker your best friend.
  4. Arrange back-up day care.
  5. Stick to your schedule, and make time to be a parent.
  6. Consider going part-time.
  7. Cut your books!
Of course she explains each tip in more detail in her post, so if you're a parent thinking about or planning to go to law school, definitely check it out!

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February 10, 2006

Law School: “It's about more than the exam and your goddamn paycheck!”

Here's a wakeup call for law students from songius—a reminder that the structure of law school and the legal profession encourage us to concentrate on all the wrong things and forget about what's really important. There's also a great comment about how to look at internships and summer jobs.

Thank you, Songius.

Posted by mowabb at 10:13 AM | TrackBack

February 04, 2006

Jeremy Richey’s Transfer Advice

For those of you thinking you might want to move from one law school to antoher, Jeremy Richey offers an overview of the uncertainties that are part of the law school transfer process.

For more on transferring, be sure to also check out Blawg Wisdom's previous mentions of the topic:

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February 01, 2006

a professor's take on grades

If you are law student, or know a law student, you are familiar with the "staircase theory"--professors assign a grade to each step on a staircase, throw their set of exams down the stairs, and whatever step your exam lands on determines your grade.

That's perhaps an extreme theory to explain the seeming arbitrariness of law school grades. Without a doubt, though, many, if not most, law students have trouble correlating how they feel they did on a given exam to the grade they received for that class.

But Professor Froomkin presents an alternate theory for the gap between how you feel and how you do:

My experience was that on the rare occasions when I thought I did great, I didn't do so great. And frequently, when I thought I did badly, I did very well. I came to believe that on time-limited exams, if you were able to put down everything you knew, which tended to cause a happy feeling, it was usually a sign you didn't know enough. On the other hand, if you could think of 20 more things you coulda shoulda said, which tended to create a bad feeling, it was a sign you knew the subject pretty well.

Yes, the facts you describe relating to your own experience may be consistent with the "arbitrariness" theory you offer, but they are also consistent with an "unreliable subjectivity" theory that I think I experienced. And, for that matter, in classes with curves they are also consistent with a "Well or badly as I did, it was worse (or better) than the next guy" theory. Or maybe you knew some subjects better than others?


Give it a read. Something to think about, at least.

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January 22, 2006

Grab Bag

I've linked to Stay of Execution before as a great source of legal advice, but it's been a while. Apparently its author is no longer practicing law, but she still writes about the profession from time to time and has helpfully collected her posts on the subject here. There's some great stuff there, including some thoughts about whether to stay at a lower-tier law school with links to some of her other related posts, as well as her roundup of advice for studying for the bar. There's lots more there so if you have some free time it's a great place to browse.

Also, those thinking about law school or if you're unsure whether to stick with the legal profession, you might find some good food for thought in How to Do What You Love by Paul Graham. [Link via My Shingle.]It's got a kind of tough-talk but inspirational conclusion:

Whichever route you take, expect a struggle. Finding work you love is very difficult. Most people fail. Even if you succeed, it's rare to be free to work on what you want till your thirties or forties. But if you have the destination in sight you'll be more likely to arrive at it. If you know you can love work, you're in the home stretch, and if you know what work you love, you're practically there.

Again, if you have 15 free minutes, it's definitely worth a read.

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October 08, 2005

Fast Fashion For Law Fools

Neo Tokyo Times confronts one of those small but vastly important aspects of becoming a lawyer: Learning how to dress like one. His advice:

I think the guiding rule is to be dressed up nicer than you need to be. . . . A good lesson for the fashionable law student is that bets may best be hedged.

Pretty good, if somewhat vague, advice. Would anyone like to add to this? For example, I just attended a “gala” where the dress was designated as “business.” What the heck does that mean? Suit and tie for men, apparently, and skirts/slacks with nice blouses for women. O think of “business casual” for men as khakis and a button-down (just go as a Gap ad and you'll be fine), but for women? And what other options are there? Is “casual” just whatever?

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October 05, 2005

Princeton Review Law School Rankings

Check out the TaxProf Blog for a summary of the recent Princeton Review Law School Rankings.

We surveyed more than 15,000 students at 159 law schools and used the information that they reported to us, along with school statistics provided by administrators, to create 11 ranking lists. None of these lists purports to rank the schools in terms of overall quality; but by using the lists in conjunction with the Students Say profiles and the school statistics, you will be able to identify the attributes of a law school that are important to you—and ultimately, generate a list of the schools that can best help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

It's an interesting picture of law schools. Yale, Harvard, and Stanford (HYS) are the hardest schools to get into (shock!), but Baylor, St. Johns (NY) and Yeshiva have the most competitive students? For best quality of life head for St. Thomas U. (feel the island breezes as you study your torts), U. of VA?, and Chapman U.? Hm.

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September 25, 2005

Enjoying law school even if you don't want to be a a lawyer

Recent Harvard grad Jeremy Blachman posts a draft of a potential piece he was working on for publication in a newspaper about enjoying law school even if you don't want to be a lawyer. The whole thing is certainly worth reading, but Jeremy concludes with the following three tips:

How to enjoy law school, according to me:

1. Take classes from the best professors you can find, no matter what they’re teaching. (And get to know them. My one regret is that I didn’t try harder to do that.)

2. Join every extracurricular activity that sounds interesting to you, and even some that don’t. Lots of smart people do lots of cool things that don’t involve casebooks.

3. Don’t worry about it. You’re smart, you’ll do fine, you’ll graduate. Don’t stress.


Seems like good advice to me. He also has an alternate version of the piece here. Of course, if you're sure you don't want to be a lawyer, you might want to avoid taking on a lot of debt just to take classes from good profs, enjoy a bunch of extracurriculars, and not worry about graduating. There are a lot of better things you can do with your three years and $150k if you're pretty certain you're never going to use that J.D. I mean, how much does it cost to climb Mt. Everest?

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September 05, 2005

Blawg Review #22

Hello, class! Welcome to the Back-to-School edition of Blawg Review! I know last week was an incredibly rough week and you've all got a lot on your minds, but we have a lot of material to cover today so if I may borrow my contracts professor's trademark phrase: Ok, let's get started!

Hurricane!Killer Katrina: Hurricane Katrina has reshaped many many lives, including those of lawyers and law students. For example, New Orleans appellate lawyer Raymond P. Ward wondered last week if he should stay or go; he made what appears to have been a wise choice and decided to go. Ernie the Attorney tried to leave but couldn't, then eventually did make it out. Both Ernie and Raymond have lots of links to more first-person and on-the-scene sources of information about the storm and its aftermath, including a few photos.

Like everyone with family and other loved ones in the Gulf Coast area, Joey of Yayarolly goes to law school spent a tense week watching the news and worrying about his her family. He She finally got some good news but he's she's now forced to start 1L a little behind on his her reading. Similarly, Jaybeas Corpus, a 2L at Washington College of Law at American University in D.C., worried about his family ahead of the storm, then learned they'd made it through ok. Jay also links to this terrific video of Anderson Cooper giving Senator Mary Landrieu (D, LA) hell for mouthing platitudes in the face of catastrophe.

Professor Yin summarized Katrina's big-picture impact on lawyers and law students: 1/3 of the lawyers in Lousiana (including the one Evan Schaeffer recently spoke to in a bar) have lost their offices, papers, computers—possibly their clients—and the state supreme court is under water. As Carolyn Elefant of My Shingle notes, the impact may be greatest on solos and small firms.

On the law school front, Katrina shut down Tulane University Law School (temporary website), as well as Loyola's New Orleans campus (temporary website). Both are using blogs as a way to communicate (Tulane blog, Loyola blog). To help minimize the impact this will have on law students, other law schools around the country have offered admission to the displaced students for a semester at least to give Tulane and Loyola time to clean up and get back in operation. This might just give 50 lucky students the chance to learn from Instapundit Glenn Reynolds at the University of Tennessee. Some Tulane 3Ls have posted online updates of their reactions to Katrina, including C.G. Moore's account at Overlawyered, and Asian Provocateur's thoughts on her own site. (AP: Please let me know if I'm mistaken and you're not really a Tulane 3L!) Meanwhile, some law professors are discussing postponing or moving the next Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting, which is currently scheduled for January in New Orleans.

Not surprisingly, the hurricane also prompted many other conversations in the blawgosphere, including Professor Vic Fleischer's consideration of whether it's true that what we've seen was actually a “naturally disaster.” The looting was a concern for many, prompting some to ponder whether looters should be shot on sight. Professor Orin Kerr says no, but Professor Bainbridge says there's no clear answer. Funny, I thought I learned in crimlaw, torts, and property that you can never legally (or morally) use deadly force merely to protect property. Perhaps I missed a memo somewhere? But the looters are a temporary problem; Professor Ribstein considers another, much larger issue: What kind of city will New Orleans be once it's rebuilt—an amusement park of the past or an economic engine? The answer to that will likely be a long time coming; meanwhile, at Between Lawyers Denise Howell is talking about how lawyers can help other lawyers make it through these difficult times. She also offers a few more related links on Bag and Baggage. The ABA is also linking up Katrina-help resources, including some specifically for law students.

The court, sort of.SCOTUS: The other major headline dominating all else is the passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, followed closely by coverage of what this might mean for the Court and the country. SCOTUSblog continues to update with excellent commentary and also points to commentary by Howard Bashman at How Appealing and this roundup of reactions from Chris Geitner's Law Dork.

Hearings for John Roberts, Bush's nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor (and now apparently for Chief Justice, as well), are due to start tomorrow and Massachusetts corporate collections attorney Jane T. Woodworth says the fact that he's a man nominated to replace a woman shouldn't be an issue. “True equality means appointing the best person for the job regardless of gender (or anything else).” In addition to gender, Roberts is being critiqued on many other angles. For example, the comment section to what started out as a light-hearted self-congratulatory post on Professor Bainbridge's blog morphed into a fairly serious (and still going) discussion of the extent to which SCOTUS nominee John Roberts' Catholicism would be an appropriate subject of inquiry during his up-coming confirmation hearings. For still more angles on Roberts and the SCOTUS, the Scoplaw has extensive notes from a recent panel discussion at Georgetown about the Roberts' nomination.

Meanwhile, a large number of law professors oppose Roberts' nomination. Could this have anything to do with a recently-renewed interest in the old question: Are American Law Profs Too Liberal? Professor Bainbridge (who would certainly say the answer to the question is “Yes!”) collects many links on the subject and concludes that conservative law professors need to insist that the pool of candidates for new faculty positions include conservatives. Professor Gordon Smith also commented on the political bent of law faculties in his very first first Office Hour Podcast. The good professor hopes to continue the podcast with weekly episodes dealing with a wide variety of topics, including business law, sports, and, of course, cheese.

Nutshells! Practice Area Bits: Of Course, Katrina and the SCOTUS were not the only topics of conversation in the blawgosphere last week—far from it! Lawyers in a variety of practice areas were busy pumping out excellent coverage of their corners of the law, including:

Litigating Lawyers:
David Giacalone reminds us that August 31 was Love Litigating Lawyers Day. He celebrated with some of his favorite positive quotations about lawyers, just in case you were about to forget that “the houses of lawyers are roofed with the skins of litigants.” George's Employment Blawg celebrated with a great t-shirt and a little haiku. How did you celebrate?

Johnathan B. Wilson celebrated by critiquing California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's :lawsuit against a number of national fast-food chains, alleging that their sale of french fries endangers public health.“ (Also here.) Maybe Mr. Lockyer just needs to learn how to match a good wine with those french fries—Professor Bainbridge has some advice on how to do just that!

Crimlaw:
Scott Henson, a Texas ACLU writer and research and author of the exceptionally terrific Grits for Breakfast blog, lists and summarizes a few new Texas laws that he actually likes.

Labor Law:
George's Employment Law Blawg features a regular weekly roundup of hot topics in labor as well as the occasional joke featuring ”a young man in an Armani suit, Ferragamo shoes, the latest Polarized sunglasses and a tightly knotted power tie“ poking his head out of a silver BMW. There's another great joke in the comments—it's funny and it's not even a lawyer joke.

IP Law:
Evan Brown of Internet Cases notes that the Fourt Circuit has reversed a decision of the district court which had found in favor of Rev. Jerry Falwell in a trademark infringement and ”typosquatting“ case.  The court's decision places the domain name ”fallwell.com“ back into the hands of outspoken Falwell critic Christopher Lamparello.

That Back-to-School Thing: Since this is the Back-to-School edition of Blawg Review, it would most certainly not be complete without a few highlights from the student corners of the blawgosphere.

New 1L Kim Plaintive quickly realized that law students can be ”serious dorks.“ She also already had her first sitting-in-class-and-couldn't-care-less moment and although this made her wonder if she's really cut out for law school, I'd say it means she's a natural. How else is she going to make it through three years of this?

Another 1L, Kristine of Divine Angst, offers her thoughts on starting law school after being out in the working world for a few years. 1L CM of Magic Cookie shares her first experience being called on in class. Her lesson is either, a) that the answer in torts, contracts, and corporations (among other classes) is almost always ”money,“ or b) that getting called on makes you stupid.

Janine at Very Unnecessary is also just starting her law school career and it sounds like she's having a great time.

But while most 1Ls are still figuring out how to balance classes and social lives, Mother In Law is figuring out how to be a non-traditional student who must balance class and family life. She's also got a harrowing account of trying to make her books more user-friendly.

For many students, the law school balancing act continues into 2L, and that's especially true for Transmogriflaw, a 2L and a new mother who is figuring out how to balance classes and motherhood. It's not always easy, but she seems to be coping remarkably well!

As for 3Ls, most of us, like Ditzy Genius, are thinking a lot about work and jobs and being done with the whole thing. Yeah, we're kind of boring like that.

But no matter what stage they're at, law students can always use more advice on how to make their time in law school better. In that vein, following up on his piece 1L of a Decision, Prof. Yabut advises all law students that: "only a stupid a$$ doesn't self-assess. Frankly, there are enough lost, unhappy souls practicing law as it is, without you — yes, you! — adding to the numbers by blindly careening toward a career.“ Although it sounds a little harsh when put that way, this is similar to the message Deborah Schneider is trying to get across in her book, Should You Really Be A Lawyer? If you haven't had a chance to check out that book, you can now get a sample of what it has to offer by listening to an interview with Deborah in the 16th episode of my very own Ambivalent Voices podcast. It's really a must-listen for law students—especially 1Ls. Keep your eye (ear?) on Ambivalent Voices in the next few days to hear many more back-to-school interviews with law students from around the country!

Elsewhere, Harvard law grad and Anonymous Lawyer author Jeremy Blachman offers some advice about law school from the perspective of hindsight.

Law students eventually have to get jobs, but will their blawgs affect that process? Related to that subject, Jeremy also recently penned an op-ed for the New York Times in which he suggested bloggers need legal protection from being fired from their jobs for blogging. Fellow Harvard Law grad Bamber was not impressed with the piece, while Anthony Rickey, a 3L at Columbia Law, says ”don't worry.“ Anthony believes a market truce will develop between bloggers and employers because employers will realize that the bad publicity they get from firing a blogger is worse than whatever minimal damage the blogger's posts might do to the employer. This is obviously a concern for many 3Ls and recent graduates who blog: Will my blog hurt my employment chances or is it going to get me in trouble once I have a job?

Finally, going back a few weeks in Anthony's archives is a brief critique of the 18th edition of the Blue Book, particularly its suggested method for citing to a particular blog post. Since the Blue Book potentially plays such a large role in the lives of most law students, and especially in this case, those who read blogs and, to some extent, depend on them for research and commentary, the topic seems relevant to this special edition of Blawg Review. For the record, I agree with Anthony: The suggested blawg citation method is ridiculous and shows that the editors of the Blue Book need to read more blawgs and learn what permalinks are. No wonder law school sucks so much sometimes—it's all the Blue Book's fault!

Well, that's going to do it for Blawg Review #22. Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions for how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

And for more immediate blog-carnival-goodness, be sure to check out the Carnival of the Capitalists hosted this week at Rethink(ip). Rethink(ip) is a group blawg by three intellectual property attorneys from three different firms; learn more about it in the Blawg Review review!

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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:

  1. Don't just go for the money in your job search; explore all the possibilities first and consider clerkships and other opportunities, too.
  2. 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!
  3. Spend more time talking to professors. They have a lot to offer.
  4. Even if you work through law school, see if you can find a way to do a legal internship somehow.
  5. Don't waste your chance in your first year to get feedback from professors on your exams so you can improve in later rounds.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Law review is a big deal. Try to get on it at all costs. (!?)
  9. Do your homework and get as much as you can out of classes
  10. Ask her out.
So ok, some of it's contradictory and goes to show that everyone's experience is different, but still a bunch of things worth considering...

Posted by mowabb at 11:19 AM | TrackBack

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!

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August 20, 2005

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]

Posted by mowabb at 07:03 AM | TrackBack

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]

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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?

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July 12, 2005

Tips from a recent graduate

Shelley, now that she's been through the grinder and made it out alive, has an excellent list of tips from the general to the particular. None of my classmates ever bake cookies.

A commenter also linked to a piece by Dahlia Lithwick at Slate I can't believe I've never seen before.

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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.

Posted by schteino at 09:54 PM | TrackBack

June 05, 2005

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]

Posted by mowabb at 12:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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.

Posted by kristine at 12:32 PM | TrackBack

April 21, 2005

First, Make a Case: Is Law School for You?

The Washington Post reviews the new book intended to help you decide whether to attend or finish law school—Should You Really Be A Lawyer?

Schneider and Belsky encourage would-be law students to really consider the cost of attending law school. The debts you take on, and the opportunity costs of spending three years of your life pursuing this degree will have an impact on the rest of your life. Once you're in school, it's hard to fight the momentum that will keep you there, and then sweep you into a career you may not be suited for.

And yet, law school applicants rarely perform even basic number-crunching before signing up for the LSAT, Schneider and Belsky contend. As a result, while half of all law students come in saying they want to do public interest work, less than 4 percent wind up in such fields -- mainly because of their debt loads, which can easily reach six-figures.

This is the most complete and helpful review I've yet seen so if you've wondered whether you should buy this book, I definitely recommend you check out this review. Also, Deborah Schneider, one of the book's authors, will be doing an online chat on May 6th at 2 p.m. here. Get your questions ready!

Posted by mowabb at 10:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 12, 2005

Law-Related Thing that Sucks: Getting Into Law School

If you get into law school, you need to ask yourself: Are you feeling lucky? And do you have an eye to spare? That's the message of today's Law Related Thing that Sucks, a podcast series from Notes from the (Legal) Underground. This might be funny, depending on whether you've recently had your eyes poked out by a professor in law school. Give it a listen and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Posted by mowabb at 04:15 PM | TrackBack

March 27, 2005

Ten Minute Mentor

For interesting tips on the actual practice of law, the Texas Bar offers the Ten Minute Mentor, a series of short instructional presentations on various legal topics, such as conducting voir dire or conflicts checking. The presentations are recorded audio enhanced w/slides for a multimedia effect, and they're organized into 25categories—from ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) to Wills/Trusts/Probate. This could be a great resource for 0Ls trying to figure out what lawyers actually do (and whether they'd like to do it, too), for law students learning these subjects in class, and, of course, for the practitioners for whom the presentations were designed. Hats off to the Texas Bar for making these things free and publicly available to all. Link via the new BlawgCast.com, part of the also very helpful Tech Law Advisor family of websites.

Posted by mowabb at 08:36 AM | TrackBack

Landmark Supreme Court Cases

New groupblawg Objective Justice points to Landmark Supreme Court Cases, which claims to offer “one-stop shopping for activities related to key Supreme Court cases and concepts mandated by state standards.” The site is a product of Street Law and the Supreme Court Historical Society, which would suggest it's geared for people teaching these cases and concepts to junior high and high school students, as well as adults outside of law school. However, that doesn't make the materials any less useful for law students. For example, hypothetically speaking, if you were supposed to be prepared to talk about Mapp v. Ohio tomorrow but didn't have time to actually read the case, the materials at Landmark Supreme Court Cases might be really really helpful. ;-) Objective Justice is collecting bits of information like this so check back there regularly for more helpful study tips along with discussion of legal, political, and other issues.

Posted by mowabb at 08:22 AM | TrackBack

Landmark Supreme Court Cases

New groupblawg Objective Justice points to Landmark Supreme Court Cases, which claims to offer “one-stop shopping for activities related to key Supreme Court cases and concepts mandated by state standards.” The site is a product of Street Law and the Supreme Court Historical Society, which would suggest it's geared for people teaching these cases and concepts to junior high and high school students, as well as adults outside of law school. However, that doesn't make the materials any less useful for law students. For example, hypothetically speaking, if you were supposed to be prepared to talk about Mapp v. Ohio tomorrow but didn't have time to actually read the case, the materials at Landmark Supreme Court Cases might be really really helpful. ;-) Objective Justice is collecting bits of information like this so check back there regularly for more helpful study tips along with discussion of legal, political, and other issues.

Posted by mowabb at 08:22 AM | TrackBack

March 20, 2005

How to Become A Law Prof

Professor Kerr also recently collected links to some of the recent discussion about how to become a law professor. [link via JD2B] And since I don't see these links mentioned in that collection, see also “Something is rank here, all right,” and “More on law professors” at Preaching to the Perverted. Dave provides some balance to the typical law-prof rhetoric.

Posted by mowabb at 09:36 AM | TrackBack

Classic Legal Texts Online

Professor Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy recently noted that several classic legal texts are available online for your enjoyment, including: My first-year law professors mentioned each of these texts at least once and recommended them as background reading. Of course, I didn't have time in the middle of my first year of law school for anything like “background reading,” but these are some titles you might add to your 0L summer reading list, or consider looking at over a break in school sometime.

Posted by mowabb at 09:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 04, 2005

Law School Can Be Different

Georgetown 1L Scoplaw writes in to follow up on his introduction to section 3, the “alternative” first year law school curriculum at Georgetown: Introducing Law School Can Be Different, the Section 3 website. The site has an unofficial history of the section, a chat board, and some interesting historical documents. Eventually the students behind the site would like to pull in other alternative curriculums and create a kind of clearing house of information for alternative first year programs. Can you help? Join the discussion or start adding pages (appropriately, the site is a wiki, which means anyone can edit its pages). Have you ever thought law school wasn't all it should or could be? Would you like to make law school better for future generations of students and for the good of society? (Assuming that better lawyers can somehow improve society.) If so, you should really check it out.

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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]

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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!!

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February 21, 2005

Georgetown and Section 3

Attention 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.

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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.

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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!?”

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February 18, 2005

The Practice of Law School

The 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.

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How to publicize your law student blog

Heidi 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.

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January 29, 2005

Grades Perspective and 1L Summer

Buffalo Wings & Vodka joins the chorus of blawggers consoling themselves and each other about the disappointment that too often comes with grades. Mr. Buffalo—who has an impeccably stellar GPA himself and is only joining this chorus out of a desire to help those less fortunate*—offers advice aimed at 1Ls who are concerned that their low grades might prevent them from getting a job, to which he says: Don't worry, you've got a semester to raise your GPA and the first summer job isn't all that important, anyway. Mr. Buffalo concludes:
Mainly, remember that it's only law school. Have some fun. Hell, after a semester, you probably don't even want to be a lawyer anymore. So why stress? 
* This post has been modified at the request of Blawg Wisdom's vast audience. Please see the comments for more details.

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January 26, 2005

Grade Angst: Reducing Randomness

Professor Yin at The Yin Blog offers some advice to those who are less than thrilled with their grades: Go visit the professor so you can make sure you don't repeat any of the same mistakes next time. Hmm. Might be worth a try.

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January 06, 2005

Should You Really Be A Lawyer?

Should you really be a lawyer? Doesn't that seem like an overasked but underanswered question? I mean, how many times have you asked yourself that? Whether it was when the idea of going to law school first hit you, or a thousand times in your first semester of school, or three years after you started your first job, I'll bet everyone who has been connected with the legal profession in any way has asked themselves this question. That's why it's such a great title for a book. Should You Really Be A Lawyer: The Guide to Smart Career Choices Before, During and After Law School promises to be a good read for all of us who have asked the question. I'll try to get my hands on a copy and let you know what I think; meanwhile, if anyone else reads it first, please share your thoughts. Does it offer anything we won't find in other similar books on this subject? One thing the website offers is some online resources for people at different stages of the legal career track. For example, Humanizing Law School seeks to “maximize the overall health, well being, and career satisfaction of law students and lawyers.” Sounds like a good thing to me.

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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.

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October 04, 2004

Managing the Bad Stuff

A reader writes in to spread the word about the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program:
The purpose of the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program (NJLAP) is to provide assistance to attorneys, members of the judiciary, law students, and law graduates with alcohol, drug, gambling, emotional, behavioral and other personal problems that affect well-being and professional performance. NJLAP provides free, confidential, professional assistance with these and other issues to you or an attorney you know.
Although it appears this resource is intended primarily for New Jersey residents, the site includes a blog that allows anyone to ask questions anonymously, so it looks like you're welcome to take advantage of it, wherever you are. The blog has a For Law Students Category, which appears thus far to focus primarily on managing stress. It's all pretty impressive, really. Sure, it's a little scary to know you're entering a profession that somehow seems to drive people to various forms of addiction or other personal problems, but better to recognize that in advance than be surprised by it later, and it's good to know resources are available to help those in need. Do other states do something like this, or is NJ taking the lead here?

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October 03, 2004

Online Legal Resources

David Gulbransen, a 1L at a school in Chicago and author of Preaching to the Perverted, is collecting online legal resources that law students might find handy. His list is already populated with lots of good legal research and writing links, links to different bar associations, legal blogs, and more. If you know of a helpful resource along these lines, send it to Dave via email (scroll down on the right column of his resource page for his address). Or, if you want to submit it via the Submit Wisdom form here, I'd be happy to forward it to him. While many legal libraries and legal "portal" sites have tried to collect lots of resources like this, with your help Dave's project might produce an interesting and unique resource for law students. Note: If you're looking for more specific Pre-Law resources, it's hard to beat JD2B, where you'll find links to law school rankings, various school admissions sites, school discussion boards and Yahoo Groups, and more.

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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.

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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...

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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

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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September 23, 2004

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.

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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.

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August 19, 2004

Learning from Lawyers

In a guest post on Notes from the (Legal) Underground, Matt Homann, offers Five Indispensable Tips for Law Students and New Lawyers. Homann is an Illinois lawyer, a part-time Pretrial teacher at Wash U., and author of the [non]billable hour—in other words, he speaks from a lot of experience.

Law students could also learn a great deal from the [non]billable hour's regular feature, Five By Five, which poses a different question each week or two to five knowledgeable people in a specific area of law and collects all of their responses for easy reading. Like Blawg Wisdom, Five By Five is an advice or knowledge aggregator, but with more specific focus according to the question of each edition. Questions thus far have included:

All of the above are accessible here—just scroll or use the links in the sidebar to jump to different editions.

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August 11, 2004

Is It Wise To Date Your Classmates?

In a heartfelt post, Elliot Fladen at The Fladen Experience says, Yes, quite possibly. Sure, it may be emotionally crushing, but it might also be a wonderful thing. Isn't that how it always is?

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August 10, 2004

Series: Menagerie's Advice to New Law Students

In addition to her retrospective on her second year of law school, SCM of The Menagerie has written an excellent three-part series of Advice to New Law Students. Her advice comes with the following preface:

Bear in mind that I can't speak to what it's like to be 22, single, and starting law school -- this is my advice for people like me, who started at 29 and had a lot of commitments. But maybe some of it can crossover.

With that in mind:

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Top 10 Things Lopez & Kahane Learned About Law School

Michael Lopez at Highered Intelligence offers The Top 10 Things I Learned About Law School. His bottom line:

You don't need to be the top of your class -- you need to do the best you can, to be balanced and happy, and to be fair and just to your fellow students. You need to respect your professors, and learn the law.

Professor Eugene Volokh especially recommends tips 1, 2, 4, 5, and 10.

If that's not enough for you, Lopez's co-blogger Jeff Kahane offers 10 tips of his own . I'm not sure about tips 4, 5 and 6; but everyone's different. My experience is that law school is as about as hard as you make it, I'm hoping that first semester grades don't determine anything more than first semester grades, and yes, the social pressure to get a firm job can be intense. If that's not why you're in law school, you might just avoid those interviews with firms that you'd never want to work at anyway. That's what I'm trying, anyway. I'll let you know how it goes.

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August 08, 2004

Surviving Law School, Dodd's Way

Although blogging is a relatively new thing, law students and practicing attorneys have been doing it for years now. In fact, two years ago practicing attorney C.D. Harris of Ipse Dixit offered his advice to law students: Surviving Law School, Dodd's Way. It includes seven big-picture tips to help you through your three years.

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August 01, 2004

Series: How to Annoy Others

Also from Jeremy Richey, another series in what not to do in law school. Parts one, and two.

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Series: How To Fail Law School

Jeremy Richey brings us a four part series on some things you shouldn't do in law school:

  1. Don't be Steve
  2. Don't be John
  3. Don't be Sara
  4. Don't be Oscar
Hmm. Steve, John, Oscar.... Does this mean more men than women are doing poorly in law school?

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