Outlines and Notes

Although I’d advise against this if you’re a 1L I’ve found it both very beneficial for both saving time and not getting too bored under 2L classes. Trying to take in-class notes in an outline format has been working wonders for me. Granted, it doesn’t always work great. You have to be able to feel out the professor but if you can get a general sense of the material and the casebook formatting your notes to be as outline-like as possible, versus merely taking notes verbatim as proven to really work and I think it’s even helping to marginally increase my grades (at least that’s been evidenced from fall semester).

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Law School Outlines

So I’ve added a new link on the right side of the website. It’s to some of my law school outlines. I know there are a lot of sites out there that charge tons of money for outlines. I’ve tried to keep mine reasonable. I’m using it to pay for my bar prep courses which are quickly approaching. If I hit the dollar amount of my prep course I’ll change the outlines to a “pay what you want” approach. I’ve included six outlines, Torts, Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Evidence, and Contracts. You can follow the link on the right or just click here.

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The Difference between 1L and 2L

So as I close in on the end of my second year of law school I thought I’d list some of the big differences between your first year and second year of law school. Suffice to say, it’s a completely different world. The long and short of it, you’ll be spending less time on cases but just as much time working on other things.

  • Law Review/Journals/Moot/Mock Trial, etc.

All these activities pile up. Law review and journals can take 10+ hours a week. Plus if you’re on any competition teams your weekends will be non-existent. Be sure to plan accordingly.

  • Internships/Externships/Clinics

These can quickly take up your week-days but are hugely valuable. There’s no better way to gain experience. Expect them to easily take 10-20 hours a week.

  • Classes

Although you still have classes the cold-calling experience is drastically reduced. True, there are still some downright evil professors that are brutal with cold-calling. However, most of my professors my 2L year really cut back on the cold-calling or were much more lenient about it.

  • You’re faster.

After having spent a year in law school you can get through cases so much faster. The classwork really takes a lot less time, which is a great advantage since you’ll be needing to spend time on lots of other things your 2L and 3L year.

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Always Dreaming

So in my research of a long held dream to potentially open my own law firm one day I stumbled across an article I thought others might find interesting. Although I question actually starting a law firm on a credit card and find the $100,000 starting year money questionable it leaves room for discussion.

Read the article here.

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(Another) Problem of Legal Education

I’ve been purchasing my casebooks for next semester and all I can say is the educational model for higher education is absurdly skewered in the wrong direction. I went to purchase my “new” Trusts and Estates casebook. The newest edition came out this past summer and of course that’s the one that’s being assigned. It’s less than 30 pages different than the previous one and at over 1,000 pages that’s far from even remotely substantial.

Just look at this.

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Staying Awake & Alert

So for the past two semesters I’ve been using neither coffee nor soda to stay awake during some of the more boring law school classes (I’m looking at you Constitutional Law). No, it’s not cocaine, although 1/3 attorneys does have a substance abuse problem. Rather it’s those Mio energy things. You simply add some to your water and it’s full of caffeine and vitamins. Granted, I don’t buy the actual Mio brand. I like to save a few bucks and buy the store-brand. You kind find them at Walmart or your local grocery store where they keep the gatorade powders and other energy drinks.

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1L Summer Jobs and 2L

I know it’s been far too long since I’ve written a post. After working at the public defender’s office this summer I can safely say the experience was great and I highly recommend others step outside of their comfort zones. I never considered doing anything within the realm of criminal law but took a leap. I found it very rewarding and while it’s not for everyone it certainly offers a very different perspective on the law.

As for 2L, it’s true. 1L they scare you to death, 2L they work you to death, and 3L (I assume) they bore you to death. The 2L part is certainly ramping up to be lots of work. I’m now three weeks in and I’m already feeling the exhaustion of the grind. Any other 2Ls feeling similar? I’ll try to post a more insightful update later this week (after several assignments are done) but I wanted to give a quick and generalized update and let everyone know I haven’t forgotten about the blog.

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Looking back on 1L

Well, I’ve survived the work portion of 1L, now I just have to hope I survive the grades of 1L (it takes about a month to get grades). It was certainly a journey but looking back on it I’m incredibly glad I did it. Yes, it was incredibly hard at some points. Yes, it was incredibly stressful at some points. Yes, it was one of the harder things I’ve done. Yet, I feel like I’ve grown a ton. Not only do I feel like I’ve gone through a process that let me grew, but I feel like I know more about myself now. I know where I can excel and where I really had to dig in and shore up my drive.

As for lessons that I wish I had known.

Work smarter, not harder.

By this I mean really sit down and try to figure out how you learn best. When I got to law school I really tried to change my studying habits. I knew I needed to ramp them up, that’s all anyone talks about once you get to law school. What a lot of people don’t tell you though is that you shouldn’t change how you study, just kick it up to a post-grad level. I won’t know for sure how well this worked until I get grades back in about 3-4 weeks but I can attest to the fact that fall semester was a chaotic mess of trying to go through all the material and figure out the best way to retain it all. This past spring semester I really sat down with a clear head and tried to ensure that the means achieved the right ends. I think it worked out well, we’ll see and I’ll write more on it later.

Secondly, don’t stress.

The fall semester everyone is trying to one-up another and stressing over “doing well”. You’ve just got to relax and breath. Law school grades have nothing to do with how well you do. They’re strictly on a curve. It’s all about how well everyone does. You don’t have to beat your professor in an analytical analysis. You have to analysis the specific material on the exam better than the other people in the room with you. That’s it. It’s not how much do you know. It’s how well can you speak to what the question asks and can you do that in a more clear manner than the other people taking the exam.

I’ll have more once I know if my revised ideas worked. Suffice to say, if you’re questioning whether you should go to law school I’ll be one of the few to say do it. True, you probably won’t get rich but if you’re in it for the money go get a job on Wall Street. If you legitimately want to be a lawyer and if you want an intellectual challenge then law school will do that for you.

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1L Summer Jobs

So the summer is almost here and that means a handful of things. Dreaded finals are quickly approaching for everyone and people have been on the frantic search for summer legal positions. Luckily I started my summer job search way back in February and received an offer by March. Keep in mind I’m not working for a Biglaw firm this summer but any legal job is better than a non-legal job.

If you haven’t landed anything yourself yet I highly encourage everyone to look into some of the more public interest or governmental agency type of work. It’s not a big New York City corporate litigation style firm but it’ll offer practical work experience and it’ll give you something to talk about at your on-campus interview next year when the pressure’s really on to land something that pays well.

There are a ton of grant opportunities as well as Federal Work Study that students who work in the non-profit legal sector are eligible for. You won’t become rich but it’ll keep you going through the summer and like I said before, it’s all really about getting work experience. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find you really love a legal field you didn’t even consider before.

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New U.S. News and World Report Rankings

Well, the new U.S. News and World Report rankings have been released. I urge everyone to not buy into them too much. They rarely include anything about a law school that you’ll actually care about on a day-to-day basis while there.

Here they are.

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