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How hard is law school?


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#1 shempskidd

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 12:50 PM

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.

#2 Mal

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 01:27 PM

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.

#3 bvlm

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 01:51 PM

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.

#4 he4dhuntr

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 01:53 PM

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, 14 July 2011 - 01:58 PM.


#5 HoFChaos

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 02:16 PM

I would say 7/10.

#6 zzzzz

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 02:46 PM

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.

#7 beaudry

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 05:05 PM

You have to have a tolerance for a lot of boring crap.

#8 OWET2011

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 09:37 PM

Yes.

#9 darklaundry

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 08:26 AM

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, 15 July 2011 - 08:26 AM.


#10 ArkRoyal

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 08:45 AM

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.

#11 OWET2011

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 09:07 AM

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.

#12 bvlm

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Posted 15 July 2011 - 09:07 AM

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.

#13 VeritasTruthEmet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 07:16 AM

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.

#14 VeritasTruthEmet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 07:30 AM

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....

#15 VBM

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 04:31 PM

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?

#16 HoFChaos

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 04:54 PM

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?"

#17 VeritasTruthEmet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 05:14 PM

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!

#18 VeritasTruthEmet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 05:29 PM

Do you actually speak this way?


Yep, sometimes I do. If your only goal was to offend me, goal accomplished. Thanks.

#19 Mal

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 09:02 PM

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.

#20 Sandybell

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 09:29 PM

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! ;)

#21 Mal

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 09:45 PM

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


<-- Deserved that.

#22 iCan

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 09:56 PM

<-- Deserved that.

+1 to the fact that you admit it. Respect.

#23 Makenga

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 10:28 PM

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!


Then again where else can you kick out the jams and invoke the holy Penumbra? Totally appropriate.

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! ;)



<-- Deserved that.


"And if ye shall invoketh the Penumbra, Which is all hallowed. Then too shalt peace be upon the land." From the Book of Maltemporis.

I tell you, Veritas is powerful Ju-Ju.

Edited by Makenga, 16 July 2011 - 10:29 PM.


#24 iheartbooks

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 12:12 AM

I agree that VBM's comment was unnecessary but so is Veritas using his second account to vote up his own posts, and to vote others down. Not cool.

#25 VeritasTruthEmet

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Posted 17 July 2011 - 04:23 AM

I agree that VBM's comment was unnecessary.


How kind of you.

but so is Veritas using his second account to vote up his own posts, and to vote others down.


Since you are the second person to accuse me of doing this:

1. The second account was created in the service of a joke; the joke had absolutely nothing to do with the manipulation of board "voting", thank you.

2. I created the "Sky King" account to openly mock His Holiness, the Sky King - who, as it turns out, is an immensely popular figure here in the Realm of Morgan. There was never any secret purpose whatsoever. I went a little out of my way to make my connection with the second account blatant... if you missed the location field on the username... right, anyway:

3. In the Sky King rant; I claimed to be "Lord Veritas, the speaker of Truth." Indeed, the statement is mostly true: only one of the three claims is fraudulent; in light of the above-attack on my choice of words, let me be more explicit as to what I mean:

a. I am not a feudal or Celestial Lord. Consequently, I do not hold radical title to any temporal or spiritual lands - not even to the Skyland Themepark. I cannot actually receive oaths of fealty for, or grant any tickets to, or even create estates in, the Skyland Themepark. I'm gravely sorry for misleading you - Fraudulent Claim Exposed!
b. However, I am Veritas.
c. Also, I am the speaker of Truth

4. Whether you liked the rant is of no consequence; disliking the attempted joke does not give you license to make false statements, nor does it render those false statements true.

5. Full disclosure: there were actually two accounts created; one that was never used for any purpose whatsoever - "Veritas Vobiscum" (Truth be with you, making fun of Dominus Vobiscum / God be with you) - I was going to mock the nihil obstat ecclesiastical censure using the Veritas Vobiscum user name in True Latin form... but I forgot how to conjugate vulgate and gave up in mid-Bull... I thought, well, I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't, so I'll go with being the Sky King and with speaking in English. As has been pointed out, I'm not particularly good at the latter - all the better then that I'm so multi-lingual, eh.


6. TLDR: Non est factum: don't accuse Sky King of shit He did not do.

7: The Sky King rant isn't related to the rude post above - but thanks for importing the matter, wrongfully or otherwise.

Edited by VeritasTruthEmet, 17 July 2011 - 04:33 AM.





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