Some law schools have legal writing, legal skills, and other similar courses set up as pass-fail. Even if yours is graded, this might still be worth reading if your school gives it one or two credit hours per semester, compared with four or five for something like Civil Procedure or Constitutional Law. Many of our tutoring students have taken this as evidence that, when they are low on time, they should focus on the high-credit class and push legal writing to the back burner. Is that an unreasonable conclusion? Not really, no. Is it a good idea? Also no.
In case this is a foreign concept to you, let’s dial back for a moment. Some schools will let students convert a limited number of credit hours to pass/fail instead of a letter grade. Now, if your school does this, but lets you see your grade before you make the decision, you probably don’t need any help. Get your grade, decide you hate it, convert the grade so that it doesn’t impact your GPA. Easy, right?
Well, it’s law school. It is almost never that easy. Most of the people we hear from are from schools where they have to decide whether to pass/fail at one of two points in the semester: either before the add/drop period is over, or before finals. A bit tougher, right? So, how do you decide?
You know how in law classes, there are two main types of tests? There are rules with elements that are either satisfied or not, and there are rules with factors that you just have to balance. This is one of those factor-balancing tests, and as usual, I’ll provide a non-exclusive list. Factors include: the importance of the class to your career goals, your current GPA, the quality of the class/professor, and your motivation.
Law school is just a lot. There are classes, readings, practice, outlining, networking events, social events, interviews, office hours, writing assignments, research, exam prep and…and…and…I lost my train of thought in the flood of it all. Oh. Right. Eating. Sleeping. Details, right? Anyway, some people can just float through and balance everything like a pro. Most people, though, if they don’t organize their time with some deliberation, will get way out of balance in some way or another, and this can have really unfortunate consequences.
I’ve talked about this on the Bar Exam Toolbox, but one of my favorite tasks is designing study schedules for bar studiers. As I got the hang of this, I started offering a similar service to some of our law school tutoring students, to supplement the work they are doing with their primary tutors. But you can probably do this yourself! Let’s go through some steps. [Read more…] about How to Set a Law School Study Schedule
I went to a law school that had a very tight-knit community. Part of our orientation involved all faculty leaving the room while a panel of 2Ls and 3Ls talked to us about some more…down-to-earth issues that we should be aware of. I don’t remember much of that talk, but I do remember one comment, mostly because it was so very clearly not applicable to me. “Because this is such a small group of people, if you aren’t already in a committed relationship when you start school, you WILL end up having an unfortunate hookup with one of your classmates before you graduate.” And then whoever had made that comment went on to explain why it was best to not hook up with the classmates that you see every day.
If I had been questioning the wisdom of going to law school as a married person, I would have stopped questioning right then. Navigating the dating world AND law school? Not my idea of fun. If you’re already married and wondering whether that’ll be a drawback if you decide to attend law school, here are some factors to consider.
Getting ready to start law school? We talk a lot about personas here, and the type of people that you’re likely to meet in your classes. What about who you’re going to be? Or, more precisely, who you’re not going to be? There are many common personalities that you really might want to avoid adopting. Unless, of course, you want to be greeted with death stares every time you walk into the classroom!
Before my older brother and I started law school at the same time (totally independent decisions, by the way!), none of our close relatives had gone to law school. I don’t know about him, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this decision. I’m not sure I even thought about law school all that much. I had worked for an amazing attorney for over a year, and she gave me a Scott Turow book to try to talk me out of going. But I had enjoyed my work with her, wanted to be an attorney, and I thought I knew what to expect. I had already completed a Master’s degree. Surely it couldn’t be much different, right? [Read more…] about Things I Wish I had Known Before Starting Law School