A New Leap

So there are some things I’ve posted here on Wanna Be Lawyer that I’ve really felt could and have helped people. Things like my post on ranking law schools your own way. Well I’ve spent the past few weeks working on a little Kindle book that takes some of the more highly viewed posts here on Wanna Be Lawyer and compiles them and adds a good deal of content too. You can find the Kindle book here.  Continue reading

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Second Thoughts on Bar Exam Prep

Well this weekend was Barrister’s Ball, a huge prom-like event for most law schools. It was a pretty fun affair and I’m looking forward to two more years of it.

Getting into the nitty-gritty of some law school stuff though, I’ve been contemplating what bar prep service to use. I know, I know, the bar exam is two and a half years away. Well, at the beginning of the school year I bought into the Barbri “lock in your price” routine. I put $250 down to make sure the price wouldn’t rise on me. Since it’s already $2,900 for the Connecticut Bar Exam you can imagine why I was so worried.

However, after reading a recent National Jurist piece on bar prep courses, I’m having my doubts that Barbri is the way to go. There are easily a dozen plus bar prep courses out there and not one of them carries the same price tag as Barbri. Kaplan looks like it’s probably the second most expensive and most others run in the $500-$1,500 range. Considering even the most expensive of these alternatives are about half the cost of Barbri, even factoring into account the fact that I’ve already sunk a few hundred dollars into Barbri I think it’s safe to say I’m going to be doing some serious thinking over where to invest a decent chunk of money in the next two years.

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Challenges of the Legal Profession

So there’s always a lot of doom and gloom about practicing law out there. One of my colleagues from undergrad who is a practicing attorney has a nice piece that’s been posted in North Carolina about overcoming these challenges for young lawyers. Go check it out here.

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Blizzard of 2013

So here in New England we got quite a lot of snow. Quinnipiac Law had all of its classes cancelled yesterday in anticipation of how bad it was going to be. I think it was a good move. We’ve had over 34 inches of snow in the past 24 hours. take a look.

SNOW

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Some Interesting News

So for those of you who didn’t see the most recent New York Times article here it is, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/education/law-schools-applications-fall-as-costs-rise-and-jobs-are-cut.html?smid=pl-share&_r=2& . It’s nothing too terribly new, law schools are in crisis. It’s the same doom-and-gloom story the New York Times has been posting for the past half a decade.

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1L Spring Semester

Hope everyone enjoyed the Superbowl. So the spring semester is fully underway. The fall of 1L year was certainly challenging, there was a lot to get used to but this second semester has definitely seen the workload increase. If you break down the semester based on which credits actually count toward which grades the spring semester accounts for 21 of the 30 credits for 1L year. (This is largely on account of the fact that I have two year-long courses worth 6 and 5 credits respectively.) Suffice to say it’s been a busy one. The memos in Legal Skills are longer and Property is probably the most substantively dense course I’ve taken so far.

Continue reading

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Looking Back on the First Semester of Law School

I know, it’s been far too long since my last post. For those of you in law school you probably understand why, memos and the first round of exams are virtually all-encompassing. For those of you looking into law school, you’ll soon know the plight. I thought it’d be a great idea to share some of what I learned and wished that I had known before and in hindsight of my first semester of law school.

  • Briefing cases is everything and nothing.

Sounds contradictory? Well, it kinda is. Case briefs are great, and I definitely recommend doing them all the way the first few weeks of class. By this I mean the whole model of Facts, Issues, Procedural History, Rule, etc. This makes sure you learn how to do them but you don’t have to do if you don’t need to. Within two or three weeks you’ll know what each of your professors expects from you. Some professors focus on just the facts, some just the issues, some want a little of everything. Learn early on what your professor is looking for and focus your work for class on those things. There’s no need to waste time looking up the procedural history of cases for a professor who is never going to ask about it. Remember, your cases are (usually) not on the exam, the concepts are. The work you spend on your briefs probably won’t even make it into your outline. Do what you need to do for class but don’t spend unnecessary amounts of time on it. Is it rough and embarrassing to mess up in class? Of course it is, but remember to work toward what your grade is, the final exam. If it doesn’t get you to that final exam grade don’t stress over it.

  • Exams are 100% of your grade.

As I mentioned in the last point, focus your efforts where they matter. Whether or not you’re a great orator or not, your classroom performance probably doesn’t factor into your grade. Don’t fall asleep and certainly do your best, but there’s no reason to kill yourself to look up the cases cited as footnotes in your casebook for that day’s material. Exams are where you’ll get your grade, not your ability to recite the plaintiff lawyer’s name from every case you read that semester. 

  • Attendance, while you only have to be there 80% of the time it’ll affect 100% of your grade.

 The ABA mandates that you have to be in class at least 80% of the time. I haven’t had a professor take points off for missing anything until that threshold. However, every class you do miss is that much material you’re not digesting. You’d be amazed how much you can learn by just being their while it’s being said, regardless of if you take notes. Plus, are you really going to rely on people you’re competing against for 1/5 of your course material? Think of it this way, why take a risk missing any classes you don’t absolutely have to. Any particular lecture could be the lecture that boosts you (or drops you) that 1/3 of a letter that you’ll need and/or want.

  • It’s a marathon with a final sprint.

Each semester is one long drawn out marathon and your final exam is the sprint at the very end. Don’t exhaust yourself early on in the semester. You really need to make sure you take time to recharge your batteries on a weekly basis or you’ll simply be too out of steam to perform at the end of the semester. I for one made sure I never did anything pertaining to the law on Sunday. I simply used that day to recharge. It involved waking up late and watching football with friends. 

  • Have fun.

I’m not saying law school itself is fun, but if you don’t at least enjoy some tiny aspect of something about the law during your first semester I’d highly suggest considering if it’s going to be the career path for you. My understanding is it doesn’t get any easier it’s merely that you now have an idea of what to expect.

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Still Here!

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of posting. Things have been busy and between outlining and general case briefing things have simply been hectic. I’m sure all my law school colleagues out there can relate.

It’s finally autumn, and here in New England it’s certainly looking like it. The leaves are starting to turn and it makes living in Hamden that much more enjoyable. It really is the stereotypical New England township.

As far as law school goes, we’ve had a few practice exams in Civil Procedure and Torts. I guess they’ve all gone well enough, it seems like it’s really going to come down to how well you can remember your outlines on exam day. I’m really not looking forward to writing the recommended 13-20 single space typed pages we’ve been told is necessary to hit a decent grade in a 3 1/2 hour time span, C’est la vie. Classes keep on going at a fairly steady pace and I’ve now been cold-called on in virtually every class, so the anxiety level is a bit less but the workload more than makes up for the difference.

I’ll try to have a somewhat Halloween styled post in the next week or two. There’s an SBA Halloween Party that’ll be going on soon and I’m really hoping Hamden can make for an awesome Halloween town.

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SBA Results & the Grind

Well, SBA results were announced last Friday and I’m honored to represent the 1Ls of Quinnipiac along with six of my other classmates. We’ve already had one SBA meeting and I’m excited to be back in Student Government. It’s just like what I did at NC State, just on a much smaller and closer scale. It should be a fun year.

On another note, the law school grind continues. Legal writing is still piling up, just as everyone warned me it would. I’m still enjoying the cases and don’t mind briefing them (too much). This was the first week that Redbull has needed to become a routine, so clearly I’ve got to reshuffle things a bit to keep my schedule streamlined. We’ve also already got a practice exam coming up this week and I definitely feel like we haven’t covered nearly enough to already be practicing for a final but it should be an eye-opening experience non-the-less. Keep on lawyering!

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Week 3

So things have been getting pretty crazy in the microcosm that is law school. My legal writing class has picked up to the point of nearly swamping me. It seems whatever you do is always wrong in there, but that seems to be the theme of 1L hazing by professors. I’m still enjoying everything for the most part though. I’ve also been running for SBA Senate. There’s a full three days of voting, something I didn’t have to deal with when I ran for Student Government in undergrad. The reduced campaign time and limits to not “campaign excessively” are nice though. So we’ll know Friday night how that went, but fingers crossed. What’s everyone else’s law school experience like right now? Everyone else starting to feel buried or are people still treading water?

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