Category Archive: Law School Life

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LSAT Instructor: Starting My Second Semester of Law School

Law school exams are over, winter vacation is behind me, and grades are in.

Exams were pretty stressful. Law school grades fall on a curve. A curve says, “It’s not about you doing well, it’s about others doing worse than you.” Brutal.

But it helps if you have an awesome study group. Someone to help you figure out why the right answers are right, and why the wrong answers are wrong. Someone to tell you that you that you’re scaring them after you drink your twelfth espresso. It’s also easier to take a break from studying if you can drag a few people out with you to the movies or to the museum.

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The Spooks and Scares of Being a 1L

With Halloween right around the corner, let’s talk about the scariest parts of law school. Now that I’m almost two months into the semester, it is starting to get downright terrifying here at Columbia, and here’s why:

The Ghostly Specter of Final Exams
Nowadays, the mere reference to finals is enough to send me into a minor panic attack. If you’ve ever been on a roller-coaster before, you know the tick-tick-tick sound that accompanies the steep incline that comes right before a sudden, heart-stopping plunge; that is exactly how everything feels right now—there is this slow, steady build-up to the furious intensity and all-consuming stress that will go along with preparing for and taking exams. Up until this point, it has been easy to push the thought out of my mind and put off worrying about it, but now I seem to find myself facing the malignant shade of impending finals at every turn.

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DIY: Spooky Law School Halloween Costumes

I’m halfway through my first semester at law school. I’m starting to think like a lawyer more and more. I look at every decision from both angles, and frankly it’s stressing me out…

I’m having a hard time deciding what I should be for Halloween.

How about a suit made entirely of statutes and cases? Get it? It’s a law suit! Or I could roll out a rug made of statutes and cases and walk on it everywhere I go. I’d be above the law!

Erm, okay. How about…

How about I get one of those toddler sized slides, oil it up, and tape it to myself? I’ll be that old stalwart legal argument: the slippery slope. I guess that could get a bit too messy; plus, I have a bad history with taping objects to my body (don’t ask).

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LSAT Instructor: One Month Into Law School

Alright, so I know I said in my last Columbia related post that law school isn’t all that bad, but I think I’m starting to crack.

We were debating in small groups whether extreme starvation can justify murder, if it’s for the purpose of cannibalizing the victim’s body. Things got a little heated. I may have threatened to eat someone.

This was highly out of character for me. I’m eating about 6 meals a day. Good stuff.

Okay, maybe I’m not eating the best stuff all the time. I get a few sandwiches, and about once a week I have the delicious NYC street food known as chicken over rice. Five bucks gets you a delicious plate of buttery self-loathing.

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LSAT Instructor: My First Impressions of Columbia Law School

A few years ago, I watched The Paper Chase for the first time. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the entire movie is basically about the difficulties and stresses of the first year of law school. One of the most famous lines from the film, delivered by a stern and austere law professor is, “Look to your left, look to your right, because one of you won’t be here by the end of the year.”

After watching that movie, I dreaded my 1L year. And though my time at Columbia Law has confirmed some of my less-than-positive expectations, it’s belied others. Let’s start with what’s met my expectations:

Cold Calls
If you know nothing else about law school, you probably know that professors follow the Socratic Method in running their classes—they call on unsuspecting students to answer a variety of questions about that day’s reading.

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LSAT Instructor: The Beginning Of Law School

I’ve been at Columbia Law School for just over three weeks. It’s been rough going. I’ve lost about 20 pounds off my bench press. The body can only take so much free pizza and booze.

Law school classes are in something less than a full swing. Columbia gently eases us in with a three-week class called Legal Methods. This is a pass-pass course; no one in the history of the school has failed Legal Methods. One brave 1L spent all of 5 minutes on her Legal Methods final. The professor gave her a stern talk (read: free lunch) and made her retake the exam.

She passed.

But some aren’t taking it easy. There have been rumors of a “gunner.”

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How I’m Preparing for Columbia Law School

Some incoming 1Ls are trying to get the jump on everyone else by reading hornbooks or briefing cases before classes start. But here’s how I’m getting ready for law school at Columbia.

After two months of careful training, I’ve managed to increase my alcohol tolerance. Sure, I’m still a mere shadow of my former undergraduate self, but my social reputation should survive all the debauchery orientation week has to offer.

Holding down my alcohol will help, but making friends and networking is so important that I’ve finally taken my unopened copy of How to Win Friends & Influence People off the bookshelf and placed it on my bedside dresser. I’ve had the book for years, and by the time classes start I’ll manage to knock it behind the dresser, still unopened, and settle for reading the Wikipedia page.

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Life Lessons Learned in Law School

As law schools continue to grapple with issues of relevance in the changing educational landscape, those who work for these institutions have taken to considering the raison d’etre of law school in general. One professor at Michigan Law has opined that going to law school is about more than mere professional training. It is his opinion that law school equips its graduates with “tools of inquiry” that can help law students lead “a richer and more meaningful life.”

Beyond what appears to be ivory tower intellectualism, I actually tend to agree with the professor. Law school isn’t just about learning the mechanics of lawyering. Law school is about learning to think in a particular way about problems and issues. More than any other intellectual pursuit in my life, law school taught me to explore the reasons for, motivations for, and possible outcomes of different courses of action.

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New Law School Rankings! Based on…Social Lives?

At first blush, most of you wouldn’t exactly consider law school and social life being in the same sentence, let alone the same physical space. After all, law school is meant to be the abandonment of all things social, forsaking fun for long evenings spent poring over casebooks and briefs. And yet, GraduatePrograms.com decided it’d

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Satisfy Your Hunger to Know Food Etiquette in Law School

With the schedules most law students keep, eating can often take a backseat. Between reading, briefing, class and whatever recreational time you can find, you’re often stuck grabbing what you can and eating it when you can. Sometimes the “when” portion of that equation has to occur during class. While I’m not against sneaking a snack or beverage in the cozy confines of the lecture hall, one must be aware of the effect one’s eating has on the other members of the class.

Here’s how to avoid being that student:

Law School Eating Etiquette Tip I: Avoid crunchy items

Pretzels are out. Chips are out. Nuts are probably a no-go as well. There is nothing worse than hearing the constant sound of crunching in your ear while trying to take accurate notes.