In #INTHEKNOW, Uncategorized on April 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm
Being a student in law school is very different than being a student in undergrad. For many, your 1L year will consist of more work than all 4 years of undergrad combined. For others, it may not seem much harder. Of course, either way, it is going to be a very different learning process than a majority of entering law students will have ever experienced before. Some key differences are listed below:
- Reading Cases. The biggest reason the 1L year is the hardest year is because as a student you are experiencing a whole new language in the law. Law school is taught by reading case opinions. Some of these cases are from hundreds of years ago, some utilize Latin, some over-use legalese. Many are just long, boring, and hard to follow. The point is that you are going to spend a lot of time reading your 1L year because it is difficult to adjust to reading opinions. Something that should be comforting is that you are in the same boat with 99% of your classmates, who have also not spent much time reading case opinions for fun.
- The Socratic Method. Most professors in law school utilize the Socratic Method. This means that they “cold call” on students. Some professors are nice and like to give people a heads up of when they are on call, but more professors are not. This requires a higher level of preparation for class. When you read you need to read for comprehension so that you will be prepared to answer questions about a given case. Some students will write out a case brief for every case they read (meaning they list the plaintiff, defendant, procedural history, courts holding and reasoning, dissent, etc.) while others rely on highlighting in their book. You will quickly figure out what works best for you but it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with different techniques to try the first couple of weeks.
- Taking notes in class. Because of the nature of law school the way that many students take notes in undergrad is not conducive to law school. You will not have time to record every word the professor says. Instead you need to figure out how to take notes in class that will jot your memory for what you learned in class later on when preparing your outline for the final. While most finals are open note and book, having a 100 page outline of everything you ever discussed in class will NOT help you on the final so take notes accordingly.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list of all the differences between law school and undergrad and every law school is different. There are many “guides” to surviving the first year of law school out there. While it is not a bad idea to prepare yourself for law school during the summer before you also need to make sure you have time to enjoy yourself! You will deal with enough stress during your 1L year don’t start the summer before! Please feel free to direct any questions about what we did to prepare for our 1L years to email@example.com!
In #INTHEKNOW, Uncategorized on April 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm
A lot of times while thinking about applying to law school the idea of securing a job upon graduation seems so far off that many pre-law students do not think too much about it. However, at the end of the day it is a harsh reality that there are a ton of students who have graduated law school, passed the bar, and were unable to secure employment as a lawyer. The reason for this is simple, as many (but my many estimates more) students are entering law school and the number of available jobs for lawyers continues to decrease
Prospective law students have also been blindsided by many schools about the “jobs secured” percentage advertised by many law schools. Many schools fail to distinguish between law related jobs and jobs working in restaurants and count these students as employed for purposes of boasting a high employment rate. This is something to be wary of while applying AND while picking a law school. Many law schools are currently facing class-action lawsuits from former students who say they were misled by the school’s reports about their graduate’s success
It is true that there are many other things a law degree can mean besides being a lawyer and that not being able to secure a job in a law-related field does not mean that your degree does not have value BUT this should be a serious part of your consideration when determining if the $50,000/year tuition and subsequent debt is worth the reward. You can read more about the employment issue that law students face at http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/01/local/la-me-law-grads-20130402
Any questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
In #INTHEKNOW on March 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm
Juniors and Seniors who are applying for law school next year, if you weren’t able to attend our discussion last week here are some of the key points:
- LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service. Make sure you register for the credential assembly service through the CRS asap. This is a service that the LSAC provides that compiles your transcript(s), LSAT score, LOR’s and Evaluations, and personal statement and sends to each school you apply to.
- LSAT. Figure out when you want to take the LSAT and how you are going to prepare for it (if you haven’t already). June is a great time to take it if you feel like you have time to prepare during this semester because it will give you an opportunity to retake it in October. October will also give you plenty of time to apply this fall. Taking it in December may be too late for some schools (so check the schools you want to apply to see deadlines) but many will still accept it, however, you need to recognize that this is later in the application process, after all you likely won’t get your score until January, and because law schools operate on a rolling admission basis the sooner you apply the better. February of next year is still an option for a limited number of schools but do recognize that this is very late in the admission process for those schools. Also start looking into test prep companies if you plan to utilize one. We recommend 3 months of studying for the LSAT and because this is a very significant aspect of your application make sure you give yourself time to prepare for it properly!
- Letters of Recommendation. The sooner you ask Professors for an LOR the better! If you are planning on applying this fall you may want to ask this semester because you want to make sure to give them plenty of time to write it. The last thing you want to be doing is waiting for an LOR to be submitted when everything else about your application is ready to go. At least one letter should be from a professor and it needs to be someone who can speak to your abilities as a student. Make sure to look at the schools you are interested in applying to to see how many LOR’s they require/allow and whether they recommend evaluations as well. Meet with the person writing your letter in person and ask what they will want to write you a letter. Many professors will want to see transcripts, know what schools you are applying to, see a personal statement, etc. Don’t forget to include a stamped envelope if they are not submitting their LOR electronically!
- Transcripts. You need to have transcripts submitted for all undergraduate/ graduate institutions attended! This includes community colleges and international universities. The sooner you get transcripts in the better because it will be one less thing to worry about in the fall. If you are applying this fall (as opposed to early 2014) then you should have your transcripts from USC sent as soon as your Spring semester grades are available (and obviously this is the case for ALL graduating seniors).
- Personal Statement. While you still have a lot of time to write and edit your personal statement it is good to start thinking about what you want to write about now. Especially because many professors will want to see a rough draft of your personal statement. This is beneficial to you because it allows them to echo the message you are conveying with your personal statement in the LOR they write. Remember we will read your personal statement and provide you with feedback at the prelaw advising office.
Good luck and all questions can be directed to email@example.com