Tried this before, got no responses and I didn't want to leave it up while I was gone, but I guess I'll just leave this and keep coming back to it.
Top 10% grades at a Top 20-30 school. Graded onto law review. Put in less hours than probably 90% of my class. I will also bump this in fall once I'm knee deep in OCI and callbacks. I'm trying for BigLaw in Boston, SF, and NYC.
Obviously not all of my advice would apply to everyone. Just one guy's opinions.
Quote: Why do you want to work in BigLaw (I'm assuming that's what you want to do when you get out too)?
I'm one of the suckers that is looking for a quality of life Big Firm, and I know that none of those truly exist, but there are some that are worse/better than others.
Thanks to scholarships, I have significantly less loans than most, but still up near six figures. I'd like to get that paid off asap.
I also feel like it helps keep my options open more for possible lateral moves to in-house counsel, government work, etc. I am still not really sure exactly what practice areas I will be looking into, although right now litigation and real estate are two that stick out to me, and I know that you can move to the business side if you get experience and develop some contacts while at a big firm.
I know thats it is not for everyone, but I have talked to some people that are genuinely happy at top firms, and usually work like 9-7 moday to friday and then do like 4-8 hours on the weekends. Obviously there will be weeks of crazy hours, but I think I can handle that.
I don't see myself staying at a big firm and getting on the partner track, but if i enjoy it, who knows.
Good thing you brought this back. I'm trying to get into a top 25 law school; I'm going into junior year with a 3.7 at a mid-tier undergrad school - what kind of grades/LSAT would I need to counter the quality of the school I'm going to right now?
Quote: Good thing you brought this back. I'm trying to get into a top 25 law school; I'm going into junior year with a 3.7 at a mid-tier undergrad school - what kind of grades/LSAT would I need to counter the quality of the school I'm going to right now?
That's a very impressive GPA, I don't think where you went to undergrad matters as much as some people think unless you go to Harvard/Yale/Stanford or to a community college on the other end. Schools will get an avg. LSAT/GPA for people from your school to compare you against.
People generally talk about the T14 (per USNEWS) although that is really tiered into HYS>>>Columbia/NYU/Chicago>>>>>>rest.
Two good resources are on the lsac.org website there is a gps/lsat calculator and also www.lawschoolnumbers.com provides real people's results.
Just make sure that you don't get too excited until you see who is and is not a minority as URM seem to get a healthy bump.
As for LSAT, the difference in a couple points means nothing as far as intelligence, but could mean everything as far as admission.
I had a 3.5 in college and got a 172 on the LSAT. I got into some T14 schools, but I knew what I wanted, took the money at a lower ranked school, because i was confident I could do well enough to get the jobs I was interested in. In retrospect, maybe I should have gone to the higher school for clerkship or possible academia opportunities, but I will be happily graduating with 100k less in loans than if I went to a higher ranked school.
As for the LSAT, practice full length timed tests. Develope a strategy. With your GPA, if you're not scoring in the 170s you can probably do better. Maybe take a class if and only if you will do the assignments they tell you to do. You can do it on your own, but sometimes the structure of a class is nice.
Quote: You said you did it with minimal studying. How much time did you devote to studying and what strategies did you use?
Not counting the last couple weeks of the semester when its basically all day, or when memos were due, when it was all day, I rarely did any work. Obviously this is not advisable and not practical for most.
My biggest suggestion in terms of getting a good effort:outcome ratio is to realize why you are studying and doing work. This is 1L, you are not here to learn some abstract material. You are in direct competition with your classmates to see who can get the best grades. Believe it or not, the knowledge will come.
Don't do work to prepare for classes, do work to prepare for tests. Sometimes these overlap 100%, but often they do not. Who cares if you look like a shining star in class, its all about that final at the end of the year.
For each class you have, get the textbook and the correspoding High Court Case Summaries, and also get a hornbook such as Examples and Explanations, Gilbert's, Chemerinsky, etc.
Read the case summary, figure out why you are reading this case. Then read the case. Highlight the important bits that correspond to the capsule summary in the commercial brief.
If you still don't get what is going on, go to the hornbook for clarity.
Once you learn the ins and outs of each class some will necessitate more, some less. I had one class where the professor recapped the highlights of the cases up front, which made reading the canned briefs unecessary.
There was another that never mentioned the cases, only the rules, so some times I wouldn't bother reading the cases, only noting what rule they corresponded to.
Unless it is the professor's rule, don't bother making your own outlines. No matter how smart or anal you are, someone has already made a better one, so don't reinvent the wheel. Most schools now have online outline banks, and many (Columbia, NYU, USC) are open to public.
Find the most recent one, hopefully someone that had your professor and same case book. Then use that as your base, and build upon it by trimming down, adding things from your class notes, any new cases, etc. Find flow charts and graphs elsewhere, combine outlines, look to the hornbooks, etc.
I know, I know, some people learn while they write. This may have been true in undergrad, but when there is a 75 page outline waiting for you, spend 10 hours editing it to your liking, instead of 50 making your own.
Don't study with dumb people. If you are constantly the one explaining things to people, stop, make an excuse, and leave.
Thankfully I found a good study group to do practice tests with, so I always got as much out of it as I put in.
Straight numbers? From Sept.-Dec. 1, I probably did <1 hour of work each day, and maybe 3-4 on the weekends.
When it came to the 15 days before finals, then it was time to go all day long.
Quote: Noah, how does the law review work? Getting into it, advancing to editor, duties, etc?
At my school, top 10% automatically get on and then the rest have to do a writing competition. Unfortunately you don't know your grades til after, so some people waste two weeks doing it when they didnt need to.
Other schools do only grades, only combo, or some formula combination of both.