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shempskidd

How hard is law school?

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I was just wondering how hard law school is compared to undergraduate studies. I found undergraduate studies in social sciences relatively easy, and was wondering how law school compared in terms of the quantity of material and the difficulty in grasping the concepts. I, like a ton of other intelligent candidates, am aiming for a Bay Street job and am applying to law school this cycle with those aspirations. Now feel free to tear me apart, if you wish.

 

Thanks.

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It is substantively more difficult than undergrad but not by a lot. There is significantly more work, probably 3 times the average degree.

 

That is not why it is hard. It is hard because you are competing against amazing people with a distribution that forces everyone to a B.

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I don't think there's a real answer to this. Law is unlike any program I've been in before, undergrad or masters. Some people are able to get by on minimal amount of work, others spend every waking moment in the library just to pull off a C. All of them were at one time A students in their respective undergraduate careers. Is it hard? Yes - as Mal said, you're competing against the best students from across the country.

 

Keep this in mind though: there are studies that show depression and anxiety disorders are substantially higher amongst law students.

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I was just wondering how hard law school is compared to undergraduate studies. I found undergraduate studies in social sciences relatively easy, and was wondering how law school compared in terms of the quantity of material and the difficulty in grasping the concepts. I, like a ton of other intelligent candidates, am aiming for a Bay Street job and am applying to law school this cycle with those aspirations. Now feel free to tear me apart, if you wish.

 

Thanks.

It's not really possible to answer your question, being that the difficulty of law school is different for every person and through every school (not to mention class and teacher). It's even more difficult to answer your question being that we are comparing it to a specific individual's experience (you) in a specific undergraduate degree (social science) within a specific school (wherever you studied).

 

The quantity of material is most likely greater than what you are used to, but again, I have no idea what the amount was during your undergrad degree. Some people put in 3-4 hours of studying a day (apart from class) for law school, others put int A LOT more, and others less. To complicate things even more, some people that study less get better grades than some that study more. It all depends on the people.

 

Trying to answer what the difficulty of grasping concepts will be is even more arbitrary, being that some people "get it" much easier and quicker than others. Some people have to study their butts off in order to "get it", while as others never do. It also depends on the classes. Concepts in family law will differ from concepts in constitutional law or concepts in philosophy of law or concepts in criminal law (or whatever classes you will be taking).

 

I'm sorry I can't answer your question, but most people will just simply tell you that it's going to be much more work and much more difficult than undergrad, which really isn't necessarily true. Results may vary.

 

It is hard because you are competing against amazing people with a distribution that forces everyone to a B.

This is really what has to be kept in mind throughout law school. It's actually not about how badly or how well you do, it's about how badly or how well you do compared to the rest of your class (which are all "good" students). However, PLEASE don't let this sense of competition make you into some completely antisocial psychopath that hides library books and rips pages out of them just so that others won't be able to read them. Or someone who won't help a fellow student out with their questions, or someone who will go out of his or her way to give falsified class notes to people (and yes, I've seen all of these things). Be nice, make friends, study hard and you'll be just fine (even if you ultimately don't end up on Bay Street - somehow life goes on).

 

Cheers,

Edited by he4dhuntr

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I was just wondering how hard law school is compared to undergraduate studies. I found undergraduate studies in social sciences relatively easy, and was wondering how law school compared in terms of the quantity of material and the difficulty in grasping the concepts. I, like a ton of other intelligent candidates, am aiming for a Bay Street job and am applying to law school this cycle with those aspirations. Now feel free to tear me apart, if you wish.

Thanks.

Relative to what?

 

Anyway, I don't think it's extremely difficult; it's just a lot of work.

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I think it really depends.

 

To pass, law school is about the same as undergrad. If you want to get a C average, you can breeze by with the same amount of effort that most people put into undergrad. A C average will not get you onto bay street though, and will limit your options post-grad.

 

To do well, it requires a fair bit more work than undergrad, especially if you want to get B+/A's. You are competing with other straight-a students.

 

Also, the work is high-volume, boring, and a lot of the time it's plain memorization. In math, philosophy and science, you can understand the underlying principles, and often "fudge it" on the exam. In Law School, understanding the underlying principles is only worth a B-, the good marks come from remembering the weird, unpredictable factoid from page 250 of some decision that is the exception to the principle you learned.

Edited by darklaundry

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To pass, law school is about the same as undergrad.

 

I disagree. A mere "pass" is far easier to achieve in law school than it is in undergrad. In law school you can skip every single class, not buy the books, and just grab a summary from last year and study a few days before you exam (maybe pre-write some answers) and you're not going to fail. I think just blindly copying down the contents of your summary during the test would warrant you a pass. I've never heard of a single failure during my time in law school. Search these boards, you wont find a single thread about it either. However, in undergrad people do actually fail.

 

On the flip side, doing well in law school is much harder than in undergrad. In undergrad just a tiny bit of effort will leapfrog you ahead of the class. Doing well in law school will require a lot of effort and maybe 10% luck.

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Also, the work is high-volume, boring, and a lot of the time it's plain memorization. In math, philosophy and science, you can understand the underlying principles, and often "fudge it" on the exam. In Law School, understanding the underlying principles is only worth a B-, the good marks come from remembering the weird, unpredictable factoid from page 250 of some decision that is the exception to the principle you learned.

 

I have to disagree with this. Law also has "underlying principles" upon which things are based. To often succeed is not to regurgitate wholesale a random fact. It's to manipulate the principles to arrive at interesting and provocative answers.

 

Many of my professors commented to the effect that a B+ meant you knew the material, and an A meant you understood it. My professors liked to see the boundaries stretched and the legal principles flipped up and around to arrive an interesting conclusion to a fact scenario. Many fact patterns are not cut-and-dried wrong or right answers. They have many shades of gray, reasonable people can disagree, and many alternative answers (some the professors would not have considered) can be found.

 

Law is not simply spitting back out what a professor tells you at all times, unless you're happy to settle for a B.

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The take-away message it seems is that it's harder to fail out of law school compared with most undergrad programs due to the curve and the fact most schools will have a limit on the number of students they're allowed to pass, as well as procedures such as supplemental finals, etc. That said, it's also harder to excel because of the same reasons, and the aforementioned fact that the bottom 80% of the class that made your A- average in undergrad possible didn't make it this far.

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I don't think there's a real answer to this. Law is unlike any program I've been in before, undergrad or masters. Some people are able to get by on minimal amount of work, others spend every waking moment in the library just to pull off a C. All of them were at one time A students in their respective undergraduate careers. Is it hard? Yes - as Mal said, you're competing against the best students from across the country.

 

Keep this in mind though: there are studies that show depression and anxiety disorders are substantially higher amongst law students.

 

This is fact: "depression and anxiety disorders are substantially higher amongst law students"... sans study.

 

Honestly, law students tend to have a particular personality type - very intelligent, competitive, interesting, and often a personality disorder of some kind. It's just odd.

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I have to disagree with this. Law also has "underlying principles" upon which things are based. To often succeed is not to regurgitate wholesale a random fact. It's to manipulate the principles to arrive at interesting and provocative answers.

 

Many of my professors commented to the effect that a B+ meant you knew the material, and an A meant you understood it. My professors liked to see the boundaries stretched and the legal principles flipped up and around to arrive an interesting conclusion to a fact scenario. Many fact patterns are not cut-and-dried wrong or right answers. They have many shades of gray, reasonable people can disagree, and many alternative answers (some the professors would not have considered) can be found.

 

Law is not simply spitting back out what a professor tells you at all times, unless you're happy to settle for a B.

 

This is absolutely right. You have to understand the principle that drives the common law forward in one direction or another... Most of the effective arguments lie at the periphery of existing dogma - or where doctrines clash. You can't simply rely on the case law, you will have to broaden the scope of previous decisions and distinguish others in non-obvious ways... The rationale for doing this is consistency with principle - the imperfect articulation of which is the doctrine....

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This is absolutely right. You have to understand the principle that drives the common law forward in one direction or another... Most of the effective arguments lie at the periphery of existing dogma - or where doctrines clash. You can't simply rely on the case law, you will have to broaden the scope of previous decisions and distinguish others in non-obvious ways... The rationale for doing this is consistency with principle - the imperfect articulation of which is the doctrine....

Do you actually speak this way?

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This is absolutely right. You have to understand the principle that drives the common law forward in one direction or another... Most of the effective arguments lie at the periphery of existing dogma - or where doctrines clash. You can't simply rely on the case law, you will have to broaden the scope of previous decisions and distinguish others in non-obvious ways... The rationale for doing this is consistency with principle - the imperfect articulation of which is the doctrine....

 

Did you just invoke the hallowed "penumbra?"

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Did you just invoke the hallowed "penumbra?"

 

Hmm, not intentionally. But maybe? Core-Penumbra is stuff I tend to associate with interpretation and construction, but then again - that could mean anything...

 

There shall be no vehicles in the park!

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Do you actually speak this way?

 

I am genuinely curious about why people would come online to simply tear someone down.

 

I may post harsh things, but always have a reason for doing so. This post seems to attack someone for absolutely no reason besides the fact that he used fairly florid prose.

 

To the people that +1ed this post. Shame on you.

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I am genuinely curious about why people would come online to simply tear someone down.

 

I may post harsh things, but always have a reason for doing so. This post seems to attack someone for absolutely no reason besides the fact that he used fairly florid prose.

 

To the people that +1ed this post. Shame on you.

can't help it: Mal being righteous: priceless! ;)

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