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Ask a 1L 2018

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Thanks for doing this! 

1. I'm planning on living in alder house, have you heard anything from students living there either positive or negative? I'm moving from BC and want to keep it cheap and convenient, and will move off campus for 2L.

2. I've heard that the U of A is very collegial, how have you found it so far? 

3. How does the workload compare to what you expected going in? 

4. How bad is the winter?

5. Do you know what kind of law you want to practice yet? 

Thank you in advance! 
 

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My personal opinion/experience from 1L:

1. I only personally knew one person who lived there. It was marketed as “law house” originally and when it didn’t fill up they openned it to first year undergrad students. She moved out after a few months. It could be different this year idk

2.  When I was told that UofA is very collegial and everyone makes friends and joins clubs my first thought was, “you don’t know me. I didn’t do anything social in undergrad and I’m not going to now.” As it turns out, I made tons of friends, joined clubs, and attended events. Everyone is super great and not nearly as competitive/cutthroat as I expected. People were always willing to share notes and explain concepts (in my experience). My friends and I taught each other the material for the exams and it was great.

3. Speaking only from a background in science with a lot of labs/lab reports but not a lot of essays..... it was a lot less than I expected. I was busy and it consumed my life but I was way less stressed than I was in undergrad. 

4. Winter is cold and I hate it.

5. I change my mind every other week. 

Hope that helps :) 

Edited by Chey3113

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9 hours ago, Chey3113 said:

3. Speaking only from a background in science with a lot of labs/lab reports but not a lot of essays..... it was a lot less than I expected. I was busy and it consumed my life but I was way less stressed than I was in undergrad. -

This basically mirrors my experience perfectly. You won't be overworked so much as you will be hit with a different kind of work. You basically dive into this whole new field head first and it will consume a lot of your free time, but in a good way.

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Hey, thanks for doing this. I am looking forward to 1L but also a little nervous.

1. Any advice for incoming first years after finishing 1L?

2. Where did you choose to live (i.e. Whyte, Downtown, on campus) and would you pick the same area again?

3. What did you do to prepare for 1L-if anything-and is there anything you wish you had done to prepare for 1L?

4. Are there any extracurriculars you wish you had been involved with/suggest getting involved with?

5. Do you have any study advice? For example, spending more or less time on case briefs/focusing more or less on preparing for cold calling/starting your outline for exams earlier or towards the end of semester when you have learned everything?

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39 minutes ago, JDee21 said:

 

5. Do you have any study advice? For example, spending more or less time on case briefs/focusing more or less on preparing for cold calling/starting your outline for exams earlier or towards the end of semester when you have learned everything?

A couple notes:

  • Very few profs will cold call you. Especially in 1L.
  • At U of A CANs = Condensed annotated notes = outlines.

Some recommendations:

  • "Briefing cases is a waste of time and you should use a CAN" - this is what most upper years will tell you. The problem with this advice is that they look back on their 1L experience through a lens of someone that gradually learned how to use a CAN. You should learn how to brief a case initially because it will help you extract the important things from lectures and the LSA CANs and will allow you to build more effective CANs.
  • Having said that, once you get the hang of using outlines/CANs, don't waste your time reading and briefing cases. It's a time sink. Normally people ditch the reading thing after midterms in December.
  • Building your own CAN is up to you. I tend to just get one from an upper year or he LSA site and add notes to it. I always waited until the last week of school but this is generally a bad idea. Sometimes it's best to wait until the end of a module/topic when all the cases come together and start making sense and you see how they work together, but waiting until the end of the semester/when you've learned all the topics isn't all that effective.
  • DO PRACTICE EXAMS - Law exams are weird and sometimes frustrating. Do practice exams and questions throughout the semester. Bring them to your prof and see if they will give you advice or critique your answer. Which kinda combines with my next point...
  • NOT ALL PROFS ARE THE SAME. Find out what your prof looks for on an exam. Bullet point? CAN dump? Writing for particular audience? Wants you to rely on common sense? Wants a very academic response? The only way you find this out is by talking to the profs themselves (maybe have them look over a practice exam you've attempted) or talk to upper years.

Law school isn't difficult enough to warrant giving up free time before 1L. Enjoy your summer and I almost guarantee you will enjoy your time in law school. It can be a lot of fun. And when it isn't fun, it can be really cathartic talking to fellow students about how shitty it is.

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@setto Thank you for being so thorough-this makes me less anxious. 

On the CANs and cold calling-seems like I have been speaking to my friend at an American law school too much hah

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14 minutes ago, JDee21 said:

@setto Thank you for being so thorough-this makes me less anxious. 

On the CANs and cold calling-seems like I have been speaking to my friend at an American law school too much hah

yeah, it's like the profs in the US try to emulate the movie "The Paper Chase" as much as possible. Some profs can be kinda socratic, but most just give a lecture and open the floor to questions rarely singling people out. Maybe other alumni had different experiences but none of my profs were like that in 1L.

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On 6/26/2018 at 4:59 PM, setto said:

it can be really cathartic talking to fellow students about how shitty it is.

As someone who did their undergrad through correspondence, I am really looking forward to shared misery. 

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Probably not a completely necessary question, but I haven't been to school in awhile and was wondering what you all found the most useful for storing notes? (Portfolios per class? Binders? Mostly online? Etc.) 

Additionally, backpack recommendations or are brief cases more common? 

If you would say it was all mostly preference, what did you choose and what did you like or dislike about it?

----

On a completely different note, how significant were the interviews in 1L, was it mostly for the experience or did you find yourself doing a lot of interviews - if so, what are these based on given such a short time in law?

----

Thank you 

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Either works. Remember though - for more formal events, you'll need a briefcase or something similar. I think most students have a backpack or big bag that they bring most days (computer, books, lunch, etc) and a slim briefcase for court (Student Legal Services), interviews, and those kinds of events.

Standard rule though -- Backpack + suit = BIG NO NO.

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6 hours ago, LadyOfLaw said:

Either works. Remember though - for more formal events, you'll need a briefcase or something similar. I think most students have a backpack or big bag that they bring most days (computer, books, lunch, etc) and a slim briefcase for court (Student Legal Services), interviews, and those kinds of events.

Standard rule though -- Backpack + suit = BIG NO NO.

What do you think about this "briefcase"? I have one in black and I love the bag. It's great for school and I've seen office workers taking it to work. Do you think it's court friendly? I'm still gonna use it, but I'd like to read your opinion since I have zero experience with the court/law environment. 

https://www.filson.com/24-hour-tin-cloth-briefcase.html

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Yes, that would be great. Main things to look for are whether it zips closed (don't want anything to slip out on the train) and can it fit a normal sized file folder. Neutral colours are best too (so maybe the red isn't the best pick, even though its super cute)!

 

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3L here! Just to add to the above (My opinion): 

1. Be proactive in preparations for interviews (if you want to get a job).

2. Don't overburden yourself with too many extra curriculars if you are not used to handling a large work load. i.e., Sometimes events such as "law show" can line up on deadlines of major assignments. I would rather test out what you can handle during 1L if you are not sure and adjust in 2L and 3L.

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