Law: Studying For Finals

December 31, 2007

Over winter break I have, with differning degrees of dedication, been studying for finals.  Thus far my efforts have been focused on Civil Procedure and I must say, I have NO idea if I am studying correctly.

 I realize there is no “right” or “wrong” way to study, but I don’t know if I am even in the ballpark.  I have a solid outline together and I believe I have a good understanding of the major points.  Will that be enough?  I have NO idea.  I hope that the outline I have put together combined with what I already know will be sufficient to get me through the course, but in reality I won’t know till I take my first exam.

For all the people willing to give advice on how to take exams and all of the study guides that exist, there is suprisingly little available to actually give a student an idea how to study for finals.  The common advice seems to be “make sure you know everything about the class.”  Thanks guys, REAL helpful.

Anyway, this is all about goals.  My goal is to get into the fat part of the curve.  Hopefully, I will have a good enough understanding of the material and test taking process to meet that goal – we will see.

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I was reading around the WSJ today, and came across this article which seemed to screw “post on  Malpractice.”

Obviously the fact that the case deals with Malpractice of both lawyers and doctors made it a “must post” article.  Additionally, the fact that for once, an article between law and medicine doesn’t put me against Kurzman in a battle of “good vs. medicine” rather, we both look like garbage.

As sad as this scheme is, it isn’t at all hard to believe.  I’m sure at some point I’ve joked about heard people talk about similar “schemes.”  What is terrible is that these people not only did it, but did a lot of it (and a lot of people were doing it!)

That said, how on earth can the DOJ allow this?  I know doctors and lawyers protect their own, but seriously, aren’t there some people in both professions that want to clean up fraud and make the profession better? 

Law: Interview Prep Replay

December 26, 2007

Tomorrow I have a second job interview for a firm in Chicago that will almost certainly not be hiring me.  This is another solid firm that I wouldn’t mind working for (though the other firm is my first choice).  This firm has a much smaller Summer class (about a half-dozen summers and perhaps one first year) but a strong reputation and is very selective on qualifications.

My interview will be a 45 minute long screening interview.  I don’t honestly know what this means.  I am hoping the interview is to screen with the possibility of a second interview to follow although I am guessing this is a chance to get to know us and grades will be the deciding factor.  Who knows.

Anyway, I didn’t learn much about interview prep from my first interview:  I am still reading NALP, headhunter reports, and the firm website.

Wish my luck on this shortened adventure, hopefully things are fantastic, I REALLY need a job!

Law: Interview Experience

December 21, 2007

Today I had my first legal interview and let me tell you, it was a STRANGE experience.

 For starters, the first person I interviewed with included a discussion of ZERO career related stuff.  We talked sports, we talked home, we talked school, we did it all, but we didn’t talk qualifications or anything similar.

Next, I went to another interview where we mostly talked casully, ocassionally talking about things of merit.

Interview 3 was more casual, catching up on the area and talking about how great the city was.

Interview 4 can be summarized like this:  You’re a 1L.  We interview 1L’s and hire a couple to bring goodwill to HLS, but realistically, you are prolly not going to get hired.  We hope that doesn’t piss you off, please apply next year. 

Interview 5 was a lot about what it is like to be a junior associate.

Interview 6 was a summary, what questions do you have and this is when we’ll let you know. 

Now its a long wait for a ding.

How can I be sure its a ding?  Outside of the fact that I think I made it clear I like the firm, I made a lot of interview mistakes (small things, like playing with my coat).  Additionally, I said a couple of things that, while not bad, were not the best things I could have said at that point.  I also offered exactly ZERO information about my qualifications for the job.  Seriously,  barely talke to people about why I would be good for their firm.  And of course there is the whole “you prolly won’t be hired” speeches that I got from multiple people.

Law: Changes

December 19, 2007

All my life I have hated change.  There is a long history that suggests I will keep something that is “blah” or marginally bad the same in order to avoid having to change anything.   Anybody that knows me can rattle off a list a mile long containing situations where I could or should have adapted to change (or changed something) but decided not to.  When I was forced to change, the change often came kicking and screaming.

This week has been about adjusting.  School ended, I went home, then down to school for a visit.  As many of the people that I talk to regularly already know, I was on a semi-weight loss plan before school ended.  I wasn’t being like, super great about working out, but I was doing fairly well.  Additionally, I had a solid study pattern going.  Now that school is out, I haven’t studied for finals at all and I’ve been to the gym exactly once.

Why do I bring this up?  To express my admiration for people that are able to roll with changes and not be phased in any way.   I have talked to classmates that went back home and studied their butts of without so much as a hickup.  To me that idea seems impossible, to them it is business as usual.  I cannot express the amount of admiration I have for people that are able to do that.

Tomorrow I’m heading home.  Since home will be “normal life” for the next few months, it seems like a necessity that I figure out a way to deal with change, develop a new schedule, and take care of my stuff.  If I can’t do these three things, I’ll be one tubby kid at the bottom of the HLS curve.

Thankfully, necessity tends to bring out the best in most people and in the past it has done a solid job of motivating me.  Hopefully history will hold form once more!

Law: Winter “Break”

December 14, 2007

So today was the last day of 1L classes.  Actually, for my section, yesterday was the last day of class, but as of today, all Harvard 1L’s are officially done with the first part of their legal education…… sort of.

Unlike most schools, our finals will be after winter “break.”  That means that instead of hanging out with our family and friends like most people, we will be studying and neurotic! 

Why do we do this?  My only guess is that Harvard thinks, and correctly so, that studying for finals while applying for jobs is a train wreck waiting to happen.  Although I think this is a good reason, it doesn’t seem to prevent other top school from having finals now.  Whatever.

Anyway, tomorrow morning I head home.  This is great news as I miss my friends and my family, however it also has one terrible element…. I have to fly.  For any loyal readers of this blog, this is not new news in any way, but I HATE HATE HATE flying.  I just can’t stand it.  So tomorrow morning I’ll wake up early, lug my 498759345 pound suitcase full of X-mas gifts and school books to the airport, and do something I can’t stand.  Joy of Joys.  Wish me luck!

Today we finished our crim law class for the semester (minus final of course).  At the end of the class, Danny MPC told us that we will eventually enter a professional monopoly and that we have an obligation to give help to those than cannot afford it when we have a chance.  It was honestly a fairly touching moment. 

Anyway, a few minutes ago I was doing what all good students do, no not Wikipedia’ing something I don’t understand……. I was killing time on facebook.

After I made my move in facebook chess, did a few trivia quetions for my undergrad basketball fan application, wrote on somebody’s wall, checked out a few picturs from a pretty awsome looking party “random evening” that my fraternity had, stalked a few friends on facebook, declined multiple requests to become both a zombie and a vampire, read a message, poked two people, and untagged a picture, I came across this ad.

How did I get there?  I was on facebook, made a move in facebook chess (HLS student places chess on facebook, whats next Captain Stereotype?  Overweight with glasses?  (looks around awkwardly)….

Anyway, so I make my move and see a little link that says “you have 11 crushes”.  For no reason other than to see what facebooks newest way to fake social interation is, I click the link, which then asks for my name.  I put in my first name and click enter.  It then asks for my sign, which I put in and click enter.  Now it wants my phone number….. hmm, this seems odd. 

Take a close look at the bottom of the link.  By putting in your phone number, you agree to have $1 per month billed to your cellphone bill.  Now, first of all, let me say that I don’t know if a class action naming all people that entered their phone number without understanding that a fee was assessed would be an appropriate class, I suspect it would not, none-the-less, this sees like a complete fraud. Lets look at the problems.

1.  It only mentions fees in the small print at the bottom.  This isn’t like when you sign up for a one month trial and it is intuitive that if you don’t cancel you will be billed.  This also isn’t a service that you would think would charge.  This is a page linked off facebook, a site that provides many many many free applications to users.  First and foremost, it seems more likely than not that a user would have no clue there was a fee.

2.  After a User Pays, They Likly Won’t Notice The Fee. The fee here is a dollar charged to your phone bill.  Home many people really look at their bill closely enough to notice an extra dollar?  Even if you did notice a random dollar, would you really think “oh rght, that is that thing I signed up for on facebook, or would you assume it is another of the random fees that show up on your bill?  For me it would be choice two.  Even if you did notice and call to find out, is the drone at the other end of the line going to know “oh ya, thats the service you signed up for on facebook?  No.

A Large Portion of Facebook Users Don’t Pay Their Phone Bill.  Talk about intentionally praying on an unknowing audience.  This company knows that a large amount of facebook users have their cell phone bills paid for by their parents.  Even if the parent figures out the cancel the fee, the user may very well re sign up, or not know there was ever a fee.  More ways to keep the fact that there is a cost from the user. 

It Is Clearly Designed So You Don’t See It.  Disclaimer at the bottom of the page, light colored font, etc.  Ya, they TOTALLY wanted you to know the terms of the bargain you were agreeing to. 

Does anybody else think this is questionable?  I don’t know what exactly the next step would be, but tomorrow in Civ Pro I’m going to pay attenion (we are doing class action) and see if I can gleam some pearls to apply to this.  Seriously, this is garbage.

Law: Ding Ding Ding

December 12, 2007

So law firm job application season is currently in full swing which means semi-daily ding letters. 

The “thanks but no thanks” letters started to roll in slowly a week or so ago with a collection of “we don’t hire first year law student” letters.  Since then, the pace has picked up and featured a collection of “we don’t hire first years” and “we won’t be hiring first years THIS year because of larger than expected success in our 2L recruiting”.  Thus far I have only had one “thanks but no thanks we just aren’t interested in you” letters.   I assume those come later.

This is a somewhat humbling process, mainly because it is the exact reverse of applying for law school.  When I applied for law school, I sent out a bunch of applications and received a bunch of good news in return.  Instead of a repeat of this process, my law firm experience has been “send out 439857439857439857 letters and get a bunch of ding emails and letters back”.  Thankfully (sort of), my classmates have all been in the same boat – applying for firms as a 1L is a losing proposition any way you cut it. 

 The positive side:  Like OCS says, it only takes one employer liking you to get a job.   My only question:  how many places do you have to interview to have a god shot at finding an employer that will like you?

 Hopefully I can land a job before grades since I’m sure my grades won’t exactly be blowing the doors off of the place.

When I first read this article, I thought life was grand

Under this formula, I’d be having a signficant majority of my tuition payed for by the good old school endowment.  Unfortunately, I don’t think this will help me save one penny. This appears aimed only at the undergraduate students which, in all honesty, only seems fair.  If, by some chance this would help me out, DRINKS ON CLEGAL ALL WINTER!!

After I thought about this longer, I started to feel somewhat icky/sinister about this decision.  My understanding is that one of the major US News factors is spending dollars per student.  It seems to me that by making the financing change in this way, the school will be drastically expanding their spending per student which may or may not help them catch Princeton (almost certainly the answeris may not) or put some distance between themselves and whoever is unimportant third. 

Now, before you take this as truth, I need to issue a disclaimer: I do not know the details of the US News UG rankings methodology.  It is very possible that they take this into account, but if they do not, then this is a great way to get good PR, seem middle class (or mabye upper middle class) friendly, and boost your US News rankings all at once.

 Or perhaps our new president legitimately wants to make things easier for students and their families.  I hope this is the case and think there is a good chance it is the situation, but the only thing I know for sure is that there are two sides to every decision. 

So today I was listening to a huge quantity of BAD music, just what I love.  I mean, I really touched all bases, a sample would include:

 1. Culture Beat – Mr. Vain

2.  Multiple Versions – Total Eclipse of the Heart

3.  Rush – Tom Sawyer

 4. The Pixies – Debaser

5.  Blink 182 – Adam’s Song

6. Tone Loc – Funky Cold Medina

Now, after a considerable amount of debate over what a funky cold medina is, I decided to put my law school research skills to use.  After a considerable amount of research, I have discovered that it is actually an ordinary mixed drink cosisting of:

One ounce of Absolut, SoCo, and Blue Curaçao poured over ice and topped with cranberry juice.

In fact, in a video I saw for the song Mr. Loc actually points to a bottle of Absolut. 

Now when somebody asks what a funky cold medina is, you know, and that ladies and gent’s has been your PSA for the day.