Category Archive: Law School Life

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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.

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3 Common Law School Myths Debunked

Anyone who has considered going to law school has almost certainly heard any number of awful things about the law school experience. I’ve got news for you: most of what you’ve heard is false. Need further proof? Check out the list of law school myths below:

Law School Myth I: You will have angry, pedantic professors who cleave to the Socratic method

I suspect this myth is born mostly of ages-old horror stories and people who have seen The Paper Chase one too many times. People imagine an old, white professor leering at a room full of law students, continuously peppering them with questions until he finds one they can’t answer. While you may run into a professor who believes strongly in the Socratic method, your law professors want to help you understand law. They don’t want it to appear mysterious and difficult.

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Today we Celebrate our (Law School) Independence Day!

For many, going to law school will be the first real taste of independence. Gone will be the days of driving home on the weekend with laundry for mom or leaning on one’s sorority or fraternity mates for support. With our nation’s independence day coming tomorrow, it seems appropriate to show you future law students how you can truly declare your independence as a law student.

1. Don’t get taken in by every offer of free food you see.

As a law student, there will be plenty of opportunities to accept free pizza (or burgers, or burritos, or donuts, etc.) for attending a brief seminar put on by Lexis or Westlaw. You have to learn to use these research programs anyway, right? So why not get some free food from the deal? While these opportunities sound great in theory, they are, in reality, your ticket to the freshman fifteen redux. Cook at home. Pack a lunch. Grab a Subway sandwich on your way to class. Declare your independence from free food.

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What Spring Break Means for Students in Law School

If you’re a (somewhat) newly minted law student, you’ve no doubt been looking eagerly ahead to Spring Break as a time to catch a much-needed breather.

Good luck with that.

While you won’t be burdened with as much reading and the necessity of visiting a classroom on a daily basis, law school will still follow you around — even on Spring Break.

At some law schools (my alma mater included), Spring Break is when you’ll be auditioning (read: doing research and a ton of writing) for law review. If you’re particularly ambitious, this is a path you may want to consider. I didn’t do it myself, but my colleagues assured me that both the write-on process and being on law review were entirely rewarding experiences.

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Who Says You Can’t Have Fun in Law School?

When one thinks of descriptors for law school (or anything related to the legal world for that matter) the word “fun” isn’t often at the top of the list — assuming it makes the list at all. If you’ve talked to anyone who’s attended law school, I doubt they’ve told what a blast it is. You’ve probably heard a lot of griping about mountains of reading and having your entire grade determined by a single test. So it goes.

That said, there is certainly room to play in law school (or at least distract yourself for a bit).

My first bit of advice is to get away from campus as often as you can. Even if it’s just to study somewhere other than the law library. The mental respite one gets from not having to see the same walls and the same faces cannot be understated. You might even be inspired to do something besides study once you get out and about. You know, stuff like talking to people who aren’t law students and doing things that aren’t reading.

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Graduating from Stress: The Progression of the Law Student Winter Break

The quality of one’s winter break in law school depends almost entirely on two factors: what year one is in law school, and one’s general disposition. I’m not sure how many of you reading this are prone to freak out, so I’ll focus on your place in law school instead.

Let’s take the 1L. I’m sure that, by now, everyone has told you how important your first semester grades are. They’re mostly right. If you’re a 1L, you get to spend winter break mentally rehashing every final you took and worrying about your performance on finals. Sounds fantastic, no? If you find yourself in this position, my advice is to get as far away as possible from law school/students during winter break. Find some semi-exotic locale and plant yourself firmly in a state of willful ignorance of your possibly impending doom. After all, there’s nothing you can do about at this point anyway, right?