By the way, I’m done with law school.
I don’t know where the time went. I still feel like I haven’t even started half the stuff I wanted to get done during the last semester.
Of course, the end of exams isn’t really any kind of milestone. Graduation isn’t for another couple of weeks. And nothing is really done until after the bar exam at the end of July.
And only then do I really get to face the gaping void of unemployment.
In the latest installment of Five by Five at the [non]billable hour, five law students (well, four students and one recent graduate) discuss What five things would you change about legal education?
Like Jeremy, Anthony and Wings&Vodka, I would change are the OCI recruiting processes.
Many law students obtain their post-graduate jobs during the On-Campus Interview (OCI) programs during the fall of their second year, when large firms and government agencies hire for the following summer. The vast majority of summer associates in Biglaw get offers for post-graduate employment, potentially freeing the law student from job searching for the entire second half of their legal education. Because of this, many critics of legal education suggest cutting back the program to two years from three.
Because the OCI recruiting process is so heavily grade-driven (especially at a “second-tier” school like Brooklyn), students are recruited based entirely on their first-year grades.
During the first semester of school, students fly nearly completely blind and get little, if any, feedback about performance, yet the first semester grades are disproportionately important in developing the professional career. On the other hand, perhaps the first semester grades should be the most important, because they indicate how adept students are at quick learning.
First, grade the first semester traditionally to the students, but officially report the grades on a pass-fail basis. This allows students the opportunity to get feedback and learn from their mistakes, but to the detriment of students who master the art of Getting to Maybe quickly. Alternatively, require professors to give midterms during the first semester in order to have some kind of feedback mechanism.
Second, prohibit employers from recruiting first and second year students for no more than one semester in advance or until the calendar year in which they will be employed. This moves OCI from the fall of second year to the 2L spring, requires employers to base decisions on 3, rather than 2, semesters of grades, and gives all students the opportunity to delve into specialized areas of practice (through clinics or classes) and develop a better writing sample than those from first year legal writing classes. It also moves the hiring timeline for Biglaw more in line with small firms, public interest and government hiring.
To be effective, either of these proposals would have to be mandated by the ABA, otherwise there is a collective action problem (employers would tend to favor schools who let them recruit early in order to pick the best candidates and prefer those schools who provide complete grade information).
When I signed up for classes, I picked out some classes, but didn’t give that much thought to the selection. After a week of classes, I decided that it is a perfectly reasonable schedule. Ah, the power of inertia.
For my penultimate semester, I am taking:
- Federal Income Tax
- International Law
- Law of Democracy
- Telecom Seminar
- IP Transactions
Well, maybe complete and utter defeat is mine. But, I am done with exams.
I am not a fan of the 24 hour take-home exam.
I am less a fan of taking two 24 hour take-home exams within a 79 hour period.
As advice to any other students: I highly recommend outlining before starting the 24 hour take-home exam.
I also heartily recommend choosing a schedule that does not have four exams within a 6 day period that begins only four days after handing in a not inconsequential seminar paper.
And because I have been up since 5 this morning, having eating nothing more than an apple, a granola bar and an entire box of donut holes, I’m out.
I am barely two hours into a 24-hour take-home exam (don’t you wish that your Saturday night was this exciting?) and already posting to the blog and ready for a nap. This is going to go well…
Ahhh, sleep. That’s where I’m a viking.
Say goodbye to blue books (well, except for this Bluebook), break out the examsoft, bang a gong, we are on:
Scherezade: Happy Exam Time!: “Matching wits with something hard, for a specific and limited duration, and being completely finished with it once you handed it in, that’s a rare kind of fun.”
I agree, but only to the extent that one is fully prepared for the exam..
While studying freezeouts (for those of you keeping track, a type of corporate transaction intended to involuntarily eliminate the equity interest of minority shareholders), I suppose I should be listening to 10th Avenue Freeze Out.
Related: Sugar, Mr. Poon corporations haiku:
too hard, but learning it from
scratch is annoying.
Also related (well, not so related to freezeout transactions as with LBOs, but still a good read): Barbarians at the Gate. Or, there’s a movie: Barbarians at the Gate.
I try to spend as little time as possible around the law school during finals time. Not only is it much more comfortable to sit in my comfy desk chair and listen to music over speakers than to sit in a wooden library chair1 and wear headphones, but I need to avoid the self-perpetuating torrent of stress that results from a critical mass of law students concentrated into one area. One major drawback is the utter lack of human contact and commiseration.
Is it good that I am essentially a hermit these days?
1Here’s one area where Fordham is far superior to Brooklyn: some of the study areas in the library include Aeron chairs, instead of only uncomfortable 1890-style wooden chairs. Of course you still have to deal with your colleagues’ stress levels, but without the added fun of your ass going numb. I don’t know how the other area schools stack up in terms of seating comfort, but I certainly miss my Aeron chair from work…
Washington Post: A Development of High Interest for All College Students
Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), chairman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, recently sent a letter to all House members in support of changing the interest rate charged to borrowers on consolidated student loans from a fixed rate to a variable rate
For those of us with student loans (and still accumulating debt), consolidating loans under the current law would lock us into the current, low, interest rate. Allowing the rate to float on consolidated loans will cost us significantly more in interest payments as rates rise.
Life, Law Libido: Life, Law: Surprise! Congress is Trying to Screw You!: “Pay attention to this ongoing debate, kids. It could have a huge impact on your future.”
Contact The Committee on Education and the Workforce and urge them to reject this reckless proposal. Local members include Brooklyn’s own Major Owens, Donald M. Payne (Hudson, Union Essex Counties in NJ) Carolyn McCarthy (Long Island), Rush Holt (Princeton, NJ) and Tim Bishop (Long Island).
More about the impact of variable rates, at BRR: A Bad Idea From Greenspan