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Is law school fun?

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28 minutes ago, maximumbob said:

You're probably not going to be comforted by my "Canadian prisons aren't that bad" suggestion.  

My problems aren’t tax related. Prison sounds good to me about now.

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My problems are all tax related. That exam yesterday was a tough one.


And I haven't filed yet and left my T-4 at school. Oops. 
 

Regardless, I think a solid trait for a lawyer is likely personal responsibility. I don't do as well as I probably could if I worked a bit harder, but that's on me, not on the system being a poor indicator of my success. It's all always your fault. 

Edited by whoknows
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2 hours ago, Kemair said:

Time can be used to inch out the effect ability has on grades. If I have an A, and I could potentially spend 100 more hours get the shot at an A+, I likely wouldn't do so, however it would be worth it for a B student to spend the extra 100 hours to get an A.

Do you listen to yourself? How would, assuming the tests are the same, a B student get to an A+ with the same amount of work as an A student? That only happens in a world where law school exams are bullshit. They're not.

 

Furthermore just spend the goddamn time again! If you know you're hurting yourself by not studying, stop complaining about the system and just.. Do the work.

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Where even to begin?

@Kemair

If I’ve understood your rambling, the only point in here is that some people have less time to commit to law school. I agree! I worked a part time job during 1L - the only year my marks mattered. I also had about 60 hours/week of work (well 45+way too much commute) in my LSAT/application summer. Nowadays I read LS.ca threads where students talk about committing 3 - 9 months (!!!!!!!!) to LSAT prep and making sure they live 2 minutes from campus so they can study till 11pm every night once they get into school.

I will never stop thinking that’s insane. But there’s an experiential point  that’s relevant to the discussion at hand - those kids don’t do very well very often.

I’m making numbers up (aren’t we all), but more than 90% of the time someone says they’re going to prep the LSAT for 9 months, their score is fluctuating between an unacceptably low 150-ish and a sort of okay 165-ish. The people who are good at the LSAT generally get it quickly. I know this both because I was one (179, if we’re going there) and tutored it to all the kids with more money than analytic ability.

I also knew the kids in law school who got 5 As because most of us showed up at NY interviews or were otherwise pretty obviously smart. They weren’t at the library till 11 - or if they were, it’s because they were the kind of bores who find it fun to hang out with their friends sending snaps till 11 trying to make two hours of reading actually go down the brain stem. (Instead of the kind of bore I was, going home to read what temperature to cook chicken to and weep for the young.)

In short, I haven’t seen even the slightest evidence that accomplishment in law school is proportional to hours put in and I spend about 25% of my posts here trying to convince pre-law and 1L kids not to think that way. So while neither of us has any meaningful data, and therefore it’s going to be hard to convince each other, I watched this whole thing unfold from a front seat in the ‘pretty okay at law school’ category and it looked like the above. 

Notably, the same theory held in other areas of study. The better students in undergrad weren’t working more hours, they were just smarter. The better chess players don’t play more hours, they’re just smarter.  

Now. Allow me to address the rest.

Edited by theycancallyouhoju
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A few scattered thoughts.

Marginal Difference. You’re right, a 179 on the LSAT is not much different from a 178. If you’re comparing different test years, it’s not different at all sometimes. But no legal employer has ever, I think, made a decision between two candidates based on the marginal difference of one mark. When I participate in the recruit, I think of students’ marks in something like buckets - “Super Duper” / “Pretty Okay” / “Not Quite There” / “Why Did They Apply”. I suspect everyone does.

Associate Requirements. You talk an enormous game for someone with zero knowledge. (Aside: That’s not going to go well. I’ve seen it before. It didn’t go well.) I don’t believe all law students can do my job till 3rd year because I’ve seen people do it poorly. A firm may retain you that long - depending on the firm - but it’s because of other dynamics (replacing you is costly, lawyers can be bad at firing people, some professional sense of honor in training you, etc.) and it’s only true in some firms. Anyway, being a lawyer in a biglaw firm, I can tell you that not all of the people we recruit do well enough into 3rd year, and also that you should be a bit more hesitant to act authoritative on something so distant from your experience.

Law Schools Should Tell it How it Is. You’re right! I do agree. I think a better world is one where law schools are very upfront about the job market - that would be a nice thing to do. So, we’re not actually that far off here. The only piece where we differ is on whether we think it’s very important. I found it extremely easy to learn about the legal job market before applying and I find it extremely stupid to believe anything a salesman tells you without your own research. So while I think law schools ought to be honest, I also think law students have the very low level of competence required to learn this on their own - thus, while an issue, it’s a very small issue.

Free Markets. Bob covered this. I just wish to lend support.

New York. Actually, I just have a queery here. You seem to think the NY recruit picks up many of the most competitive students, but also think grades are stupid. How do you reconcile those claims? I can tell you my firm has a cut-off that is...a bit more porous than you might guess, but is still a cut-off. 

Banking. Are you an iBanker? Do you have about 400 of them surrounding you every waking minute? Do you talk more to iBankers and PE guys than any other class of people? I do. I assure you, they are tested for fit. They don’t pretend otherwise. (Hell, I used to work retail and was tested for fit. Insofar as fit is a thing, it’s a thing to all employment - it only looks like a cold sore when you’re in an industry with a lot of employers you don’t fit with. It reminds me of how some of my former classmates who excel in environmental law or union law or whatnot derided bay for looking at ‘fit’, but then rather openly admitted that Hoju wouldn’t fit in their shop. Fit is that thing that you see when you don’t have it, and don’t notice when you do.) Finally - and this is just so much more important - investment guys and gals need to have enormous interpersonal skills, most of the time, to really do their job at peak levels. Grades do not even slightly measure that. Pound for pound, I think a lawyer can be more of a social outcast than someone you’re going to put on a board. 

TL;dr - “Grades mostly reflect time invested” is the single most incorrect thing you could say about the LSAT or law school and, even though it’s extremely unlikely you’ll agree to that, it’s important that 1Ls reading this are aware.

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@theycancallyouhoju agree with your point generally. But just to add to it:

 

There's certainly a minimal level of hard work (or work, generally) required or anyone - genius or not - to "get" the material. Now the amount of work needed, I.e that base threshold, differs based on how easily you get it of course. But you can't learn through osmosis. Just like in undergrad - courses where for example I did absolutely no work because I just did not care, I got a poorer grade than my usual. I just didn't pay attention in class, or do an ounce of reading, to even know the name of the case I was citing to back up my marketing plan, or what have you. 

 

That being said, the same works in reverse. I.e there's diminishing (severely) returns once you pass that threshold.

Now - if someone needs 100 hours to get to that threshold - but their maximum "getting it" is till a B-, they may spend an additional 100 hours to pull it to a B. And that's perfectly fine. And in fact should be somewhat rewarded - I.e if I'm ever in a position to hire, I'll take the equally smart kid who worked harder and got a half a letter grade better in general, over the kid who didn't. 

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4 hours ago, Kemair said:

Lets say you know if you get a 170 on your LSAT, you will for sure get into your dream school with a full ride scholarship. You are consistently scoring 175 in practice tests, and with the general rule of thumb, you will likely score 170 on the real thing. Should you put anymore effort in past this point, to the detriment of other things in your life? Now Imagine it only took you 20 hours to get to that point, and another person 200 hours. Why would either person put anymore time in past that point? A higher score offers them no additional benefit for their current goals.

In this example, both people will have scored a 170 and get a full ride. The first person is clearly more competent then the second. If you were a law school, wouldn't  you think knowing how much time they spent would help you decide the best candidate? The second person way have a "better" work ethic than the first, but it wouldn't make sense for the first to put in anymore work. That doesn't mean they wouldn't put the required work in for future projects.

Time can be used to inch out the effect ability has on grades. If I have an A, and I could potentially spend 100 more hours get the shot at an A+, I likely wouldn't do so, however it would be worth it for a B student to spend the extra 100 hours to get an A.

You should consider the possibility that people who excel don’t think the same way you do.

My first experience with the LSAT, I sat down and did a whole test through timed. I got somewhere around a 170/172, I don’t quite recall. What I do remember is calling my friend in law school and asking if I’d messed up and bought the wrong materials or something, because this seemed a little underwhelming.

Yet for three more weeks I did a full test 5 days a week. Not because 172 wasn’t a good enough mark to get into UT (okay, also I was interested in Yale), but because I didn’t just want the good enough mark, I wanted to consistently be above it. I wanted to increase certainty, not peak outcome. One day, if you become a deal lawyer, you’ll understand the difference.

I’m all in favor of lazily calling it a day when it makes sense - it’s my very favorite thing. But you’re not covering all the angles. 

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@pzabbythesecond Sure. With freak exceptions, there are minimums for hours put in - all humility aside, and this is more honest than I like to be, it will never stop bugging me that I got a question wrong on the LSAT. But if you don’t have enough free time to meet your minimum threshold, you shouldn’t be doing the task at all. It’s an unfortunate reality of life, and yes it means that some people’s natural talents will never come out. That’s a shame. But if you don’t have enough time to excel in law school, you sure as all hell don’t have enough time to excel in biglaw.

Anyway. I’ve been in or post-law school for...holy crap, 6 years? There is always a few students who are convinced that if they spent 10 more hours a week resting or studying, they’d be strolling into Wall Street. When you tell them the kids on WS worked less than that, they’ll come up with some new reason why their “true” skill level didn’t materialize. @Kemair‘s position and faith that he knows better than employers, schools and classmates who do excel is a trope of law school. (And, maybe! But go prove us wrong, then.)

Edited by theycancallyouhoju
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Oh god, to be back in school. Those were the days.

Admittedly, I have a lot more money and eat at way better restaurants now. And my TV is much bigger and my speakers are better. But I still really had a lot of fun in law school.

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It was an investment in my future that paid off in real time as well.

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For anyone intimidated by this thread I feel I should note that extremely mediocre people like me are also well represented in the legal profession. I did not have any kids or a part time job or a commute during 1L but I still made it through. My principal extracurricular was watching sitcom reruns. Not even good ones. I watched a lot of Two and a Half Men that year. I still have no idea why. 

Edited by NYCLawyer
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50 minutes ago, NYCLawyer said:

For anyone intimidated by this thread I feel I should note that extremely mediocre people like me are also well represented in the legal profession. I did not have any kids or a part time job or a commute during 1L but I still made it through. My principal extracurricular was watching sitcom reruns. Not even good ones. I watched a lot of Two and a Half Men that year. I still have no idea why. 

Pre or post Charlie Sheen?

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Just now, NYCLawyer said:

Charlie Sheen. I never got to the Ashton Kutcher episodes. 

God bless

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15 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

@pzabbythesecond Sure. With freak exceptions, there are minimums for hours put in - all humility aside, and this is more honest than I like to be, it will never stop bugging me that I got a question wrong on the LSAT. But if you don’t have enough free time to meet your minimum threshold, you shouldn’t be doing the task at all. It’s an unfortunate reality of life, and yes it means that some people’s natural talents will never come out. That’s a shame. But if you don’t have enough time to excel in law school, you sure as all hell don’t have enough time to excel in biglaw.

Anyway. I’ve been in or post-law school for...holy crap, 6 years? There is always a few students who are convinced that if they spent 10 more hours a week resting or studying, they’d be strolling into Wall Street. When you tell them the kids on WS worked less than that, they’ll come up with some new reason why their “true” skill level didn’t materialize. @Kemair‘s position and faith that he knows better than employers, schools and classmates who do excel is a trope of law school. (And, maybe! But go prove us wrong, then.)

Also, we rarely have the perfect amount of time to do the most stellar job possible on anything. Part of being successful in law school or practice is figuring out how to budget your time so you can do what needs to be done to a reasonable standard. For example, I do both appellate and trial work, so I will have facta due from time to time, and my factum due date may fall during the middle of a trial. So I have to allocate time for both factum writing and trial prep, taking into consideration my kids/personal life and other commitments. I don't have 200 hours to do the most amazing factum the court of appeal has ever seen, which maybe in theory I could produce if given enough time. But if I can find 40-50 hours and be efficient (with my student having done some research), I can produce a very good factum that covers what it needs to, walks the court through the issues in the way I want it to, and puts my client in the best position they can be going into the hearing, and I can also be adequately prepared for the trial.

Some lawyers are such perfectionists that they don't want to hand anything in unless it is perfect - I've had this issue with students who have done their memos and addressed what needs to be addressed but don't want to turn them in because they want to go over and over them looking for mistakes. I think a function of having balanced school and kids forever is that I learned a long time ago to take time when I can get it, work fast, and hand in something sufficient on time without worrying about whether it's absolutely perfect. 

(*I know you can extend a factum due date in certain circumstances, but it has to go in at some point and if I have lengthy back to back trials and then vacation, I may prefer to just keep the original due date.)

 

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I just officially finished 2L yesterday, and I have to say law school has been one of the best times of my life. 

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