Category Archive: Law School Life

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Does compassion have a place in the law?

The University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law has recently voted to “champion the cause of compassion.”

When I heard about this, my initial reaction was positive. I think there already is a lot of compassion and other emotions that can come into play behind the rhetoric of legal reasoning. Judge Richard Posner has been arguing that politics, intuition, and emotion, rather than sophisticated legal reasoning, are often the real motivators behind judicial decisions.

BPPanna-lsat-blog-1l-finals
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Your First Set of Law School Finals

January’s rolled around, which means new year (oh yay!) and also new semester (oy vey). You’ve survived the worst finals ever, buuuut you’re looking down the barrel of more finals in a few months. Did you get anything out of that terrible experience, besides a fallback conversation piece with your classmates? Do things get better?

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Social life matters in law school.

Here’s the thing about law school. You’re there to learn and build a solid ethical and knowledgeable foundation that will sustain a decade’s long career. But, if we’re being real, you’re also there to get to know people, to make friends, to schmooze even. The friends you make in law school — whether they are students, professors, or support staff — could have a direct impact on your job prospects after graduation. In law school, it’s both what you know, and who you know.

BPPyuko-lsat-blog-interviews
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Real-Life On-Campus Interview Nightmares

It’s job season for rising 2Ls. It’s a stressful time for pretty much anyone. But, I’ve been hearing a lot of hilarious stories, so I’m going to share some with you.

The Ronald Reagan Library

I was interviewing with a big firm in the City. They’re known for being especially left leaning in an industry that’s itself very liberal to begin with. So I walk into a partner’s office for my second interview of the day, and there’s presidential memorabilia everywhere. Pez dispensers, bobble heads, buttons, and a huge map marked with what are probably the birthplaces of US presidents.

She asks me, “So, where’re you from?” I tell her I’m from this small town in California.

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What To Expect In Your First Week of Law School

If you, like me, are headed into your last week of freedom summer before starting your first year of law school, you may be trying to figure out what those first few weeks of school will look like. Because I’m more neurotic than you, I’ve saved you the trouble and pored over blogs and forums and orientation workbooks myself. Here’s what I’ve dug up:

Don’t worry too much about memorizing the Constitution or anything before class. Many students think they need to either catch up on obscure statutes or try to get an edge over their classmates; neither is the case. In fact, the general consensus seems to be that you should appreciate these last couple casebook-free weeks. Hit the beach, read some Nick Sparks, enjoy the end of your summer.

BPPyuko-lsat-blog-1l-job
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What I Learned from My 1L Summer Job

I was in LA for my 1L summer. I got an offer to work at the Los Angeles DA’s unit that handles gang murders: The Hardcore Gang Unit.

You think, oh LA; that’s Hollywood, the Walk of Fame, Chinatown, Koreatown, beaches, sunshine, surfing. Sounds fun. After a few weeks at the DA’s office, LA seemed a helluva lot more dark. People really do get killed for being in the wrong neighborhood, for wearing the wrong color shoes, and for no particular reason at all. The gangs of LA are quite brutal.

Part of the reason is that killing someone gets you increased status within the gang. The other part might be the fact that about half of all murders in LA County go unsolved.

BPPphilip-lsat-blog-interviews
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An Inside Look at Interviewing During Law School

I’m sure most of you have prepared for job interviews some time in your life. For the vast majority of people, job interviews are a little nerve-wracking and stressful. Now, rather than preparing for one or two job interviews in a week, imagine preparing for twenty to thirty interviews that will take place over the course of four days.

We are in the midst of our law school recruiting period here at Columbia Law. Virtually the entire class of rising second-year students descends on a hotel in Times Square to interview with law firms from around the country. This post is dedicated to giving you an inside look at the process that law students go through to find a job.

Apart from the sheer quantity of interviews, the process is not all that different from interviewing for a job in any other field.

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LSAT Instructor: The End of 1L

Yuko Sin is an instructor and blogger for Blueprint LSAT Prep. He started as a 1L at Columbia Law School in the fall, and has been writing a series of law school-related posts about his experiences.

I’m almost at the end of my first year of law school. I have one more exam to go: Property. Japanese Law, Crim, and Torts are done. I have no idea how I did, but I’m alternating between disgust, resignation, and occasional bouts of wild optimism.

Taking a law school exam is neither science nor art. It’s more like alchemy. You don’t really know what you’re doing but you construct a system of symbols and incantations called an “outline”, and that system sometimes produces good outcomes, though it always falls short of gold.

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Dream Professors: Celebrity Spouse Edition

When I found out Amal Clooney was teaching at Columbia Law, I made it my mission to spot her on campus—George has nothing on me, after all. Thus far, I have been unsuccessful (much to my chagrin). Part of the reason may be that Columbia students are apparently forbidden from talking about her class. Because of my disappointment, I started hoping that maybe a few other celebrity spouses guest lecturing at Columbia would increase my odds of crossing paths with one.

Alexi Ashe
Seth Meyers’s wife, Alexi Ashe, is a human rights lawyer and Assistant District Attorney. I would love to see her guest lecture at Columbia in a criminal law class. For one thing, I’m not a huge fun of my criminal law professor right now, so anyone seems like a possible upgrade.

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LSAT Instructor: The Second Semester Blues

J. Peterman: Bad news, people. Peggy is home sick.
Elaine: Oh, please.
J. Peterman: She’s stuffed up, achy, and suffering from intense malaise.
Elaine: Oh, come on, we all have intense malaise. Right?

Second semester of 1L is notoriously rough.

January.

You get your first semester’s grades. Back in November, a professor pointed out that none of us were used to being B students, but a fair chunk of us would become B students. The curve demands Bs, and a lot of ‘em. Even if you beat the curve, you’re bummed for your friends that didn’t, but deserved to.