Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience: By Students, for Students / Edition 1

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Overview

First Published in July 2000, and written by students, for students, Law School Confidential quickly became the "must have" guide for anyone thinking about, applying to, or attending law school. This isn't the advice of graying professors or battle-scarred practitioners decades removed from law school: Law School Confidential provides a current, comprehensive, chronological account of what to expect at every stage of the law school experience. Rob Miller has assembled a blue-ribbon panel of recent law school graduates from across the country to offer realistic and informative firsthand advice about what law school is really like today. This new, completely revised and updated edition contains the very latest information and strategies for thriving and surviving in law school -- from navigating the admissions process and securing financial aid, choosing classes, studying and exam strategies, and securing a seat on the law review, to getting a judicial clerkship and a job, passing the bar exam, and much, much more. This new edition also includes a brand-new, exclusive interview with the dean of admissions of the renowned Cornell Law School, and a completely new chapter about the law firm hiring process with the hiring partner of Ropes & Gray, a prestigious national law firm, and the hiring partner of Sheehan, Phinney, Bass & Green, a well-respected regional law firm. Law School Confidential is a complete guide to the law school experience that no prospective or current law student can afford to be without.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A useful and worthwhile book.” —NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL

"A helping hand for legal neophytes...Offers future attorneys a glimpse into a three-year experience they may have only seen in movies.” —THE RECORDER

"Solid, tested advice, eloquently delivered with humor and style." —LAW PREVIEW BOOK REVIEW

"Walks the reader from the decision to go to law school through the bar exam. . . a useful, worthwhile book." —NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL

"Miller has decorously armed his readers. . . excellent advice." —THE DOCKET

"This abundance of information is just the remedy for the nerves of a student anxious to enter law school. . ." —JOURNAL OF THE DENVER BAR ASSOCIATION

"This book is a must for anyone attending or thinking about law school." —THE HOUSTON LAWYER

"Pulls no punches in providing revealing and honest advice for all three years of the law school experience..." —LAW PREVIEW

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312243098
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/14/2000
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

ROBERT H. MILLER graduated from Yale University in 1993 and from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in May 1998, where he served as senior editor of the Law Review. After graduation, he served a prestigious federal court clerkship, and is now an attorney at the well-known New England law firm Sheehan, Phinney, Bass & Green, where he specializes in constitutional, intellectual property, and business litigation.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

 

Thinking About Law School? Think Again …

 

Know thyself.

—SOCRATES

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE of advice that can possibly be given to you, the prospective law student, is simple. Surprisingly, perhaps, it has nothing to do with how to study or how to write a good exam. It is not about how to glean wisdom from the dusty pages of the U.S. Supreme Court opinions that shaped our country, or how to make the law review, or how to impress an employer in a job interview. Those things are important, but they’re all secondary.

The most important advice that you can get as a prospective law student isn’t even about law school. It’s about you—and it can be summed up succinctly but completely with a single word.

Commit.

That’s it. “To carry into action deliberately.” Commit.

Show up for your first day of law school with only a vague notion of why you’re there—without a clear set of reasons for putting yourself through the punishment you’re about to endure—and you’ll be setting yourself up for a miserable and unfulfilling three years. Show up committed, with a well thought-out set of goals supported by reasons for attaining them, and the experience can be exhilarating.

The choice is yours. You picked up this book looking for answers, or maybe a “quick fix” that will put you ahead of your competitors in the rough-and-tumble world of law school. You have it in one word: commit. That’s it. Don’t “decide” to go to law school. Don’t “try” law school. Commit to law school. That is the pure axiom of law school success. Commit, or forget it—for in law school, to quote the ancient Jedi master Yoda, “there is no try.”

Still with me?

Now … about the cocky guy next to you who just put this book back on the shelf with a “Hrumph” after reading these first few paragraphs—don’t worry about him. That’s the overconfident guy who will spend the first weeks of law school casually reading cases, partying in the bars, and teasing you about studying too much. Learn to love that guy because he’s someone you’re going to flog on your first-semester finals. Trust me on that because I used to know that guy.

He was me.

Step number one on the road to your commitment to law school is to ask yourself one critical question. Why do you want to go to law school?

No really. Think about it. What’s driving you? Force yourself to come up with an answer. Now be honest. Does your answer, or something like it, appear on this list?

• because my mom/dad/sibling/relative/friend is a lawyer

• because I took the LSAT and got a good score

• because I’m not good at science and wouldn’t be able to get into med school

• because lawyers make good salaries and have financial and/or job security

• because most of the people at my school are applying to law/med school

• because I watch Law & Order reruns and think they’re interesting

• because I’ve read all of John Grisham’s novels and find them fascinating

• because I don’t know what else to do and law is a respectable profession

• because my parents/relatives/teachers/friends think I’m a “born lawyer”

Okay. So if your rationale for going to law school appears above, all is not lost. It just means that you need to rethink your motivations because these just aren’t going to cut it for you. Let’s dispel some illusions.

My relative the lawyer made me do it

First of all, what is it about your parent/sibling/friend the lawyer that makes you want to follow him into his profession? Is it the money? The prestige? Do you even know whether this person is happy practicing law? Have you asked him lately? More important, have you ever followed this person through a typical day—or even better, a typical week? Ever ask this person what he likes least about the law, or about how much time he spends in court compared to how much time he spends with his nose buried in the books? Ever ask how long it took him to make partner, or how many hours a week he had to work to become partner? Ever ask him how much time he gets to spend with his kids, on his hobbies, or exercising? How her relationships are with her family and friends? These are revealing questions that may help you explore a career in law more realistically. Ask them before you romanticize your relative the lawyer.

I can’t ignore this amazing LSAT score, can I?

Why not? The LSAT is allegedly an aptitude test that predicts how well you’ll do in law school, but the accuracy of this correlation is controversial and much debated. A good LSAT score is a tremendous asset when applying to law schools. A whole chapter in this book is devoted to teaching you how to get the best possible score. However, the test bears almost no resemblance to what you’ll be doing in law school, and even less to the actual practice of law. Both law school and law practice require well-developed research and writing skills, and to a lesser extent, oral advocacy proficiency, none of which is tested on the LSAT. No legal concepts are tested on the LSAT, which is basically a souped-up, trickier SAT. Yet some would use a good LSAT score to justify law as a career choice. A good LSAT score may bring you to the dance, but it’s no guarantee that you’ll be happy to be there.

I don’t have a mind for science, so …

Otherwise known as the old “I can’t be a doctor because I couldn’t hack orgo, so I might as well be a lawyer” rationale. Trust me, I get it … I took orgo twice myself, but seriously, where’s the logic in that argument? We’re not playing the game of Life here—this is the real thing. Contrary to the beliefs of many, there are other career choices besides law, medicine, and investment banking. Maybe you should explore some of them. Take a year off to travel, learn a language, teach, write, or work for a nonprofit or volunteer organization. Start your own business. Think a little and figure out what it is that you like to do. Don’t just fall into this ridiculous mind trap and go straight for the law school applications because all your friends are doing it. To quote your mom, “If all your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge…”

It’s the economy, stupid

This is one of the biggest misconceptions of all. If you’re going into law because you think it’s your road to riches, stop and go directly to business school or ignore the advice in the last section and become an I-banker. That’s where the real money is. While associates in big-city law firms do make six-figure salaries right out of law school, in a good year I-bankers at comparably large investment firms commonly make that much in their holiday bonus. Similarly, a successful business idea can bring you a partner-level salary two or three years after start-up, not to mention stock options, a flexible work schedule, and the pleasure of being your own boss.

Remember this—the average lawyer’s salary in the United States is still only about $40,000 per year. Sure, partners at big-city firms may pull down over a million a year … but those big salaries generally belong only to the real rainmakers, and it may have taken even them fifteen to twenty years of eighty-hour weeks, two failed marriages, and a heart attack to get there. Clients don’t just grow on trees or fall out of the sky. You have to earn the right to represent clients, and that takes serious time and effort. Meanwhile, the prosecutors you’ve romanticized from television or the novels you’ve read may make as little as $25,000 a year while working the same hours. So don’t kid yourself. A career in law does provide some job security and a good assurance that you and your family won’t starve on the streets, but if money is your primary motivator, there are much easier ways to make your millions.

This ain’t Hollywood, son

That brings us to the unspoken reason why many people go to law school—the secret longing to be Tom Cruise in The Firm, Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird, Sam Waterston in Law & Order. Unfortunately, this too is a romanticized notion of the law. Most lawyers never make guest appearances on CNN or get to parade secret, star witnesses into court to the gasps of the gallery. The vast majority of cases settle before trial, and the work between intake and settlement is a long, private grind of discovery battles, document review, motion practice, and many hours spent reading, writing, and thinking far from the limelight. If your aspirations about law school center on supercharged days before a jury and invitations to appear on national television after your latest victory, it’s time to wake up to the reality of what the practice of law is really like.

Most lawyers, even the really good ones, typically toil in the state and lower federal courts, often on mundane legal issues. Most lawyers will never argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, and an appearance before a circuit court of appeals or a chance to break new legal ground may only occur once or twice in a career. That’s not to say that your days as a lawyer won’t be interesting or intellectually challenging. Many of them will be. But they won’t be like what you see in the movies.

Finally, remember that even what you see on Law & Order is the culmination of hundreds of hours of hard work in the library reading cases, developing theories, drafting court briefs and memoranda, and taking depositions from unwilling witnesses in law firm conference rooms—things the producers will never show you on television. For every hour of court time you log, you may spend hundreds of hours reading, researching, and writing. If you become a civil or criminal litigator or a prosecutor, you’ll have your days in court before a judge and jury—but if you go to work for a big-city firm, it may take you five to ten years to even see the inside of a courtroom, and even longer to try your own cases. In the meantime, you’ll be a researcher—analyzing issues, finding applicable cases, and writing memoranda to the more senior associates and partners in the firm. You’ll typically be asked to work sixty-to-eighty-hour weeks, late nights, and at least some weekends.

Your fate is typically better in a smaller firm, or working for a state or federal prosecutor. Doing so can bring these opportunities much more rapidly—often within the first year or two, but these positions typically pay much less.

On the corporate side, it is much the same story. If you want to become a dealmaker in a large city, you’ll need to get in line. For the first few years, you’ll be paid handsomely to draft boilerplate agreements and spend late nights at the printer arguing over the placement of commas in merger agreements and initial public offerings. Remember that at a big firm, there may be sixty to eighty starry-eyed associates in your “class,” all of whom want the same plum assignments that you do. Someone has to do the scut work, though, and for the first few years, that will be you. While smaller firms again offer more rapid opportunity, the deals are also smaller. Further, someone still has to proofread these agreements—and that someone is still going to be you. Oh—and if you’re thinking of going the in-house route, remember that most corporations won’t even consider hiring someone right out of law school. You’ll need some years of firm experience first, unless you hook up with your friend’s start-up company, and if you do, remember that 95 percent of these “start-up” companies never actually get anywhere.

Of course, there are exceptions to all these scenarios. Partners in big firms will occasionally take promising young associates under their wings, channel them interesting and important work, or provide them with uncommon opportunities to sit “third chair” in a trial, or to help “put the deal together.” Be clear, though: These are the exceptions, not the rule. The road to partnership is paved with disillusioned associates who became bored and disenchanted with the work they were given and left voluntarily, or who, after seven years spent toiling in the mines, were told that they were not on the partner track and should look elsewhere for employment. In a typical large firm, of an entering class of forty to eighty associates, only a small handful, maybe three to five, will survive to make partner eight or ten years later.

Hey, you! Yeah, you—the one with the distressed look on your face about to reach for that copy of Med School Confidential instead. Relax. It’s not all bad. It’s just that there are so many people out there with misconceptions about law practice that we need to clear away the delusions up front to approach this experience with more realistic expectations. Now that we’ve done this, it’s time for more introspection. Let’s explore whether you have an accurate picture of what your law school experience will entail. As you read the questions that follow, carefully consider the answers that come from within. Pay particular attention if a “Yeah, but…” comes up. Trust me—it’s better to deal with this crisis now than to experience it a month into your first semester.

A REALISTIC EVALUATION OF YOUR FITNESS FOR LAW SCHOOL

Go somewhere where you can be undisturbed for the next thirty minutes or so and force yourself to answer the following questions honestly. What follows is a realistic picture of the day-to-day grind of law school. In many ways, it’s also an accurate picture of the day-to-day life of a young lawyer. So forget the glamorous pictures of law practice you’ve seen on television and in the movies and be honest with yourself. While few people will find themselves completely in love with the thought of spending their next three years holed up in a library, if what you see below is too far out of sync with what drives you, your misery may last much longer than the three years you’ll be in school.

• How comfortable are you with the idea of spending the majority of each day in silence, reading difficult material?

• Do you or could you have the stamina to read dry, complicated material for four to six hours a day, every day?

• Are you self-reliant, or do you depend on others for constant encouragement, evaluation, and/or affirmation?

• Can you seize the main points of an assignment and move on, or do you typically get hopelessly bogged down in detail?

• Are you disciplined enough to get up and attend classes every day?

• Are you comfortable speaking out in class and arguing in front of others?

• Have you been able to “will” yourself through difficult periods in your life?

• When you don’t understand something, are you capable of teaching yourself?

• Do you enjoy doing research, searching through books in a library or online databases, for pieces to a puzzle or “the answer” to a problem?

• Do you like to write critically and analytically?

• Is your personality more proactive than reactive?

• When you’ve given your best effort, will you be able to sleep at night knowing that you’ve done the best you could, or are you more likely to beat yourself up wondering if there was more you could have done?

• Are you ready to make the law your life for the next three years by subverting most of your hobbies, other interests, and your social life to serious academic dedication?

It’s probably obvious from the way these questions were worded, but you’re looking for mostly yes responses—or at least the probability that you’ll be able to work up to yes responses on each of these questions. If you’ve had too many “oh-ohs” during this evaluation, you should take that as a warning. For example, if you don’t like to read, you’re making a big mistake applying to law school.

“If you are reading this while you are still an undergrad, I would strongly encourage you to take any law classes or classes on the legal process that your school may have to offer,” Shruti suggested. “That is a very good way to determine whether legal concepts really interest you. I also think it is very beneficial to have some conversations with actual, practicing lawyers. Find out what they do on a day-to-day basis. What are their hours like? How do they maintain their work-life balance—or do they? Having this sort of conversation with several lawyers, preferably from a broad range of practice areas, can help to illuminate the life and work of a lawyer, which in turn will help you determine whether that is a life you want.”

To help you examine your readiness for law school, let’s develop these areas more completely.

The reading load

The typical law student will read in excess of three thousand pages of case law, hornbooks, and outlines during a fifteen-week semester. In the typical semester of 105 days, that means roughly thirty pages of reading every day if you read seven days a week without ever taking a day off. At an average analytical reading rate of ten pages per hour, that means three hours of reading per day, every day, with no weekends, holidays, or excuses. Naturally, that’s an unrealistic expectation—but when you start taking days off, the missed reading starts backlogging and piling up on other days. In my own experience, in the first year of law school, I generally read for about four hours a day, six days a week. That, of course, is in addition to class time, and time spent outlining what you’ve read. But we’re not talking about the time commitment yet, just the reading. Recognize what you’re signing up for. If you can’t fathom yourself reading law for about four hours a day, six days a week, you might want to start reevaluating your career choice.

The discipline

In law school, there is really no substitute for discipline. The problem is, unless you are coming to the law from the military, most of us have never had to exhibit the kind of discipline that law school requires, and many prospective law students underestimate just how much discipline that is. Whatever your practices were in college—skipping classes because they were too early in the morning, too boring, or because you were too tired from staying up too late playing poker online or too hungover from your bender—they must become a thing of the past when you get to law school. Missed classes mean missed notes, and even if you get the notes from someone else, chances are you won’t understand them. Since classes often build on the material introduced in prior classes, if you miss a critical class, you might fall off the wagon. Trust me when I say there is no greater discomfort than realizing that because you missed an important lecture, you are the only person in your section who still doesn’t understand a concept.

There is simply no substitute for putting in the time. You must go to class every day, struggle through the difficult material, take notes on the professor’s hypothetical scenarios (called hypos), and pay special attention to what parts of the material the professor stresses in class. The benefits will soon be obvious, as it is often these very things that show up on exams.

In your upper years, after you have a few semesters of law school under your belt, these rules will change somewhat, and we’ll get into these modifications in later chapters—but you, the prospective 1L, are looking at the need to string together two to three semesters of near-perfect attendance. Are you disciplined enough to force yourself through those tough days when pulling the covers over your head sounds a lot better than a 9:00 a.m. lecture on collateral estoppel?

Of course, just being there isn’t enough. You need to be there with the reading done and outlined, taking supplemental notes, and ready to respond when that fateful day arrives when you are called upon to be the Socratic crash-test dummy for the class. Given that we’ve established that you can’t afford to miss classes, “I didn’t do the reading, so I’ll just blow off the class” doesn’t work in law school. Knowing the importance of discipline and preparedness, the professors can be unforgiving if they catch you unprepared.

During my first year at Penn Law, the unthinkable happened in only one class, during the second-to-last week of the first semester. The unfortunate individual, a friend of mine, had already started studying for exams and had not read the case being discussed that hour. The class, Civil Procedure, was being taught by the acting dean of the law school—a younger but equally intimidating incarnation of Professor Kingsfield from The Paper Chase. The exchange went something like this:

“Mr. Brown [not his real name]—what happened in Hanna v. Plumer?”

A long silence, in which heads began to turn and stare at Mr. Brown.

“Mr. Brown?”

Mr. Brown furiously scrambled to locate the proper page in his commercial outline. Members of the class, starting to realize what was about to happen, began to whisper to each other and giggle nervously.

“Is something wrong, Mr. Brown?”

More silence, then … “Uhh … I’m going to have to pass.”

“I don’t think so, Mr. Brown!”

More silence as the professor and the student stared each other down.

“Mr. Brown, are you trying to tell me that you are unprepared to discuss this case?”

Poor Mr. Brown didn’t manage to find anything sensible to say about Hanna v. Plumer and was badly humiliated before the entire section of almost eighty students. He was the first and last student caught unprepared by the professor that semester. He was also called on for two consecutive days after that day—and I’m happy to report, he gave good answers both times. However, even if your law school has blind grading, you really don’t want this to happen to you.

A couple of more practical thoughts to close this section on the requirements of discipline. The average yearly tuition in a private law school now tops $50,000. Assuming eight subjects per year, or four per semester, that breaks down to $6,250 per subject, and assuming three classes per week in each subject during a fifteen-week semester, nearly $150 per class. For every class you miss, you’re throwing away $150. Think about that.

If that doesn’t work for you, this—the ultimate example of why you need discipline in law school—probably will. As we’ve previously discussed, to accomplish your reading load for the semester, you need to read about thirty pages a day, every day. If you blow off Friday’s reading for whatever reason, that means you’ll need to read forty-five pages on Saturday and on Sunday to be ready for Monday. If you really goof off and don’t read on Saturday, you’ve left yourself ninety pages to read on Sunday, which is more than can realistically be handled in a day. Once you get that far behind, the stress and the worry start to build, hang over your head, and make your entire experience miserable. This is why there are no weekends off in law school, and this example clearly illustrates just how easy it is to get hopelessly behind in your reading load.

You must be disciplined!

The atmosphere

The study of law is lonely. Yeah, there are study groups, but you don’t get to a study group until you’ve read the material for the week, and you won’t stay in one for long if you don’t keep up with the work. Can you sit alone in a library carrel and read for a few hours after class every day, then go home and outline the day’s reading alone under the midnight oil? Isolation is a reality of law school that many people have difficulty with. My group of friends made it a point to get together on Sunday nights for a few hours to play poker; but aside from that, during the first year, I often went the entire week without seeing them outside of class. You need to be ready for that. While some schools may tout softball leagues, intramural sports, and other activities, for your first two years of law school, those things will be much more the exception than the rule. For most people, the cappuccino after class, the hour at the gym, or the thirty-minute “library break” dinner you grab with a friend will be the extent of your social life. That takes some getting used to. Is it something you can handle?

Other people have substantial difficulty getting used to the competitiveness and contentiousness of everyday life in law school. If you dislike competitiveness, you have some options—such as applying to schools known for a more cooperative atmosphere—but this won’t completely eliminate your problem. Most schools still operate, at least during the first year, via the Socratic method. In other words, you’ll go to class, and a professor will ask a question related to the reading for that lecture and then call on someone to respond—perhaps even requiring the student to stand while responding. The interrogation rarely ends with one question, often stretching for fifteen minutes or more, while you’re up there, intellect exposed to the entire class, sweating out answers. In many cases, when you’re stumped, other students will eagerly volunteer the correct answers (though in chapter 10, we’ll suggest that you not do this), which can leave you feeling humiliated and incompetent, and questioning your fitness for the experience. Even the most intellectually confident people are not immune from these feelings of doubt.

Finally, at some of the most competitive law schools, the competition can get truly ugly. People hide books needed for common assignments or hoard the best outlines passed down by upperclassmen to give themselves an advantage in exams. Sometimes, people even intentionally play mind games with you to try to throw you off. Some schools are notorious for harboring atmospheres like this, and I encourage you to surf the various law school message boards and blogs, identify these places, and then avoid them like the plague. But the truth is, at any school where students are graded on an absolute curve, there is bound to be some nastiness as exams draw near. If you are easily rattled or respond badly to the stress of academic competition, you may want to reconsider how well your personality fits with the realities of the law school experience.

The writing

Words are the lawyer’s tools, and writing is the lawyer’s craft. If you don’t like to write, and if you’re not fully committed to becoming a master legal wordsmith, you’re in for a miserable three years and an even worse career. At a minimum, all lawyers draft letters to each other and to their clients. Corporate lawyers spend a lot of their time drafting or amending contracts and other agreements. Litigators can spend weeks crafting motions and memoranda of law to various courts.

Given the importance of writing in legal practice, you’ll have a first-year class that will teach you the finer points of legal research (where to find cases, statutes, legislative history, and the like in books and online) and writing (everything from how lawyers write, to proper legal citation form). You’ll do a lot of writing in this class, encompassing everything from an opinion letter to a client to a full-blown appellate brief to the U.S. Supreme Court. Your instructor will dismantle your current writing style and, hopefully, turn you into an economic, laser-sharp legal tactician. The conversion will likely be rough on you because legal writing emphasizes precision. Every word must be chosen carefully to convey the desired meaning—nothing more, and nothing less. There is no room for flowery prose. Many students find this Spartan style arduous and frustrating. Don’t make a critical mistake by taking this class lightly, because after graduation, your legal research and writing skills will define your aptitude as a lawyer more than anything else. How much real estate law you remember, however, may never matter to you again.

You’ll utilize your legal writing skills at almost every turn in law school—in writing essay exams, in the law review writing competition, in moot court competitions, in writing a law journal “Note” or “Comment,” and in any externship you may pursue. Every employer will require a writing sample as a prerequisite for a callback interview, and no judge will grant you a clerkship without first evaluating your ability to write.

I trust that you get the message here. If you don’t like to write precisely, and don’t think you can warm up to it, you might want to consider a different line of work.

The commitment

At least for the first two years, law school is an all-encompassing task. Nights, weekends, and holidays will all be sacrificed to the cause. You’ll be eating, sleeping, and dreaming law. Most of your conversations will center on law, to the point where you may discover that you have difficulty talking about much else. There will be stretches during the first two years when you won’t have enough time to return phone calls. Letters will go unanswered, and bills will go unpaid. You’ll be forced to abandon most if not all of your most cherished hobbies. There simply won’t be enough time left in the day for most things. Not if you’re going to stay on schedule.

Sure—you can cut corners and turn in a lackluster performance now and then. It’s your future. But every grade you get, particularly the ones you get during your first year, counts.

A lot.

Every stumble closes a door. In a great legal market when the economy is booming, you might survive a stumble or two. If the market tightens, however, or if you’re after one of the really plum jobs or a high-level federal clerkship, you can’t afford putting forth anything less than your best effort every day. In the rough-and-tumble world of law school, sometimes even your best effort won’t be good enough.

The law is a jealous mistress. Be forewarned.

Taking time off before you apply

Many people wonder about the merits of taking a year or two off after college prior to applying to law school. As Dean Geiger explains in his lengthy interview in chapter 3, law school admissions committees generally do not care whether an applicant has taken time off between college and law school. What is critical, though, both in Dean Geiger’s eyes, and in the opinion of your mentors, is that you not apply to law school until you feel certain that you actually want to go to law school—and further, that you have worked out your wanderlust and your urges to ski-bum, write a novel, teach, work in the Peace Corps, or live a bohemian lifestyle as a musician.

If you feel these competing urges as you approach graduation from college, indulge them.

Embrace them.

Chase your dreams and make them happen. Just do it now—before you wake up when you’re forty years old and wish you had.

Law school is no place to try to find yourself. Law school is the kind of place that will force you to repress just about every other competing interest in your life as you struggle to stay afloat. There are no free summers and no vacations. Once you matriculate in law school and the train starts rolling, it is hard to get off. Inertia kicks in; before you know it, you’re ten years into a law career with a spouse and children, wondering how you never got to hike the Appalachian Trail, backpack through Europe, or write that novel.

For some, law school is the terminal dream—the thing they’ve been working toward since childhood. If this is you, fantastic. Get on with it.

If it isn’t, though … or if you’re not sure … or if you are haunted at night by a nagging wonder about whether you’d rather be a chef, for God’s sake stop and figure it out. If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of miserable years until finally, at some point, you either give up your life’s dream and settle for something else or have a midlife meltdown to the detriment of your family.

The biggest mistake I made was not taking time off between college and law school. Once you start law school, you begin down the path to becoming an attorney, and once this process has begun, there is no looking back. The first year is very stressful, and after that, you become focused on getting a job.

—Pat    

“It was a mistake for me to attend law school directly out of college. I experienced a lot of personal growth in the years immediately after college,” Patrick noted. “While my friends were out learning how to work and support themselves in major cities around the country, I was still living in the utopia of a university campus as a first-year law student. As I was dealing with the pressures of being a first-year law student, I was also dealing with the emotional turmoil associated with ‘coming out of the closet.’ The latter experience would have been easier to handle if I didn’t have to read cases, prepare briefs, and make a new group of friends all at the same time.”

“I think some time away from studies is a great opportunity to explore the world and gain some insight into oneself,” John-Mark advised. “Keep in mind, though, that it is not necessarily an either/or proposition. You can usually apply, get in, and then defer admission for a year. That year out can be spent exploring other career possibilities, paying off undergraduate loans, traveling, or just plain relaxing.”

“I wasn’t ready for law school right after college,” Yvette admitted. “My grades were pretty average, so I had to raise my senior-year grades to better demonstrate my academic ability. Throughout college, I was more interested in partying than studying. By the time I got to law school, I had worked all of these things out, and all I wanted to do was study, and I was quite content.”

“I also noticed that at my law school, many of the top students took time off before returning to school, so I think there is something to say about the maturity, perspective, and time-management skills of returning students,” Lindsay added.

Don’t rush the decision to go to law school. Take as much time as you need to be certain that the decision is right for you. The legal profession is littered with unhappy people who failed to properly consider the choice to go to law school—and who are now trapped in a career they don’t want. Don’t add yourself to their number.

PLAN YOUR APPLICATION PROCESS

Well, you’re still with us, which is a good sign. Although chapter 3 will take you step-by-step through the law school application process, we need to address some significant scheduling issues now, while you’re still thinking about law school. Most schools use “rolling” admissions, meaning that they admit, wait-list, or reject students as their applications arrive instead of commencing evaluation on a stated date. Some schools using rolling admissions will make offers to attractive candidates (or reject unqualified candidates) within a week to ten days of the completion of your application. This means you must have your applications complete, filed, and ready for evaluation as early as possible to give yourself the maximum opportunity for success.

If one of your top-choice schools admits you early on, your application stress will be greatly reduced, and you’ll be in a much better position to haggle over money and/or to secure loans at favorable rates. If you wait until the last minute, most of the slots at your top-choice schools may already be filled, leaving you to compete for whatever slots and whatever financial aid has not already been committed to other candidates.

Recommendations

Most law school applications require two or three recommendations. Unless you’re coming to the law from another career, two of these recommendations must be from college professors, and the third from the source of your choice. Obtaining recommendations takes time, particularly if the professors have to write them for many people, or if you need many versions personalized to each different school. Accordingly, a good benchmark is to disseminate your recommendation forms sixty days in advance of the date you hope to complete your applications. In chapter 3, we’ll address how to select and solicit your recommenders and provide several hints about how to keep the process running smoothly. For now, just remember to plan sixty days ahead for the receipt of your recommendations.

Essays

Most law school applications require two to five essays. Many or all may have word limits or space restrictions. You heard it when you applied to college and you’ll hear it again here—essays can make or break your application. Near-perfect grades and LSAT scores are commonplace in admissions offices at the best law schools, so in making the tough calls between numerically identical candidates, nothing is more impressive to an admissions committee than concise, well-crafted prose. Good writing takes time and considerable effort. Don’t expect to have the luxury of essay overlap that you enjoyed in college, where you could simply adapt the same essay to every school you applied to. For law school, you may have to craft at least one different essay for every application you file.

Request your law school applications in July so you’ll receive them as soon as they are published, typically in mid-August. Make a list of the different essay topics, determine how much overlap there is, and get started as early as possible.

Your criminal history

Huh?

That’s right. Your criminal history. You are applying to law school, and most schools will be asking you to document any arrests and any court appearances you’ve made for anything other than routine traffic tickets—and they may even want to know about those if you’ve had too many of them. If you have any skeletons in your closet, assemble the documentation now so your applications won’t get held up.

If you’ve ever been arrested or been a defendant in a court proceeding, admissions committees will want to know the name of the court, its address and phone number, the date and docket number of your case, the disposition, and any fines or other punishment you received. For those of you considering a cover-up at this stage—don’t. You might get away with it, but most law schools won’t automatically disqualify individuals with checkered pasts. Three years down the road, however, an extensive character and fitness background check awaits you before you can sit for the bar exam. Investigators will find anything you’ve tried to cover up—and they won’t be as forgiving as the admissions office might be.

If you have a criminal history, contact your state bar association and inquire about the effect your past might have on your ability to pass the character and fitness investigation. Better to find out now than to spend the tuition and three years of your life only to find out that no state considers you fit to practice law.

The LSAT

Finally, you must determine when you will face the LSAT—the great law school gatekeeper. The LSAT is offered four times a year, in February, June, October, and December. Scores can take up to six weeks to be processed and sent to the schools, and your application will not even be looked at until your scores are in. Accordingly, most applicants will take the LSAT in June or October in order to complete their applications by November. Taking the exam in June is the wisest choice because it leaves room in case you are sick, have a family emergency, or experience one of the few circumstances that warrant canceling your scores. We’ll address the LSAT more fully in the next chapter.

The big picture

You should have penciled in (1) a June or October LSAT date, (2) compiled a final list of schools and written application-request letters to be sent out no later than August 1, and (3) made your recommendation requests no later than September 15.

Your applications should begin arriving at the beginning of September, and you should immediately dissect them. Make a list of all the essay requirements, figure out how how many separate essays you’ll need, and get busy writing.

Remember, your deadline is to have everything in the mail by November 1.

 

Copyright © 2011 by Robert H. Miller

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Table of Contents

Author's Note xvii
Foreword xix
Part 1 So You Wanna Be a Lawyer ... 1
How to Use This Book 3
I am a college student thinking about applying to law school, or I'm thinking about changing careers and applying to law school 5
I've already been admitted to law school, and I'm nervous ... 5
But I'm already in law school ... I wish I'd found this sonner 6
I'm the parent, friend, sibling, or significant other of someone going to law school 6
The Law School Confidential Mentors 8
Chapter 1 Thinking About Law School? Think Again ... 20
My relative the lawyer made me do it 22
I can't ignore this amazing LSAT score, can I? 22
I don't have a mind for science, so ... 23
It's the economy, stupid 23
This ain't Hollywood, son 24
A Realistic Evaluation of Your Fitness for Law School 26
The reading load 27
The discipline 28
The atmosphere 30
The writing 31
The commitment 32
Taking time off before you apply 33
Plan Your Application Process in Advance 35
Recommendations 35
Essays 36
Your criminal history 36
The LSAT 37
The big picture 37
Chapter 2 Your Five Most Critical Hours: How to Beat the LSAT 39
So What Is This "LSAT" Anyway? 40
The reading comprehension section 41
Logical reasoning 41
Logic games 42
The minutiae and related suggestions 42
So what about the test prep courses? 44
I bombed it--I know it--Should I cancel my score? 45
Chapter 3 Applying to Law School: Bait the Hooks Carefully and Cast the Nets Wide 46
Interview with Richard Geiger, Cornell Law School 47
Additional strategies 71
1. Try to decide where you want to practice before you apply 72
2. Apply Early Action wherever possible 72
3. Proofread everything 73
4. Visit your top schools and keep in touch with the admissions office 73
Chapter 4 Choose Your School Wisely 75
The school's regional and national reputation 75
Pay the greatest attention to a school's placement record 78
The harsh reality 79
Philosophy 81
But what about ... 83
Chapter 5 An Investment in Your Future: Funding Your Legal Education 84
Sources of funding 85
General suggestions 86
Some terms they'll throw around in your aid package 87
Federal loan programs 88
Stafford Loans (formerly the "Guaranteed Student Loan") 88
Perkins Loan (formerly the "National Direct Student Loan") 90
Private loans 90
Grants and scholarships 92
Federal work-study 92
Your day of reckoning 93
Part 2 The First Year, They Scare You to Death 95
Chapter 6 The Ten Things You Must Do Before Classes Begin 97
Before You Arrive on Campus 98
1. Read this book from cover to cover 98
2. Arrange for housing 99
3. Use the summer to get in shape 103
4. Read now, sign up later 103
5. Buy a computer and become computer literate 104
6. Check in with the registrar 106
After You Arrive on Campus 107
7. Set up "headquarters" 107
8. Learn the "lay of the land" 109
9. Update your resume 110
10. Get your books, study aids, and other supplies 113
Recommended commercial outlines 114
Bonus: Go to orientation! 115
Contacts for commercial outlines 115
Chapter 7 So What Is a Tort Anyway? A Brief Overview of the First-Year Curriculum 116
The Subjects 117
Civil Procedure 117
Contracts 119
Torts 120
Property 121
Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure 123
Constitutional Law 125
Administrative Law 126
Chapter 8 Getting Out of the Gate--Applying the Lessons of Futures Past 128
Case briefing--their way 129
Case briefing--my way (The five-step plan to success) 131
Step 1 Start each night with a lesson from your commercial outline 131
Step 2 Brief in Technicolor 133
Step 3 Supplement your notes and tab your statutes in class 136
Step 4 Write your own outlines 138
Determining your work schedule 140
A word about study groups 141
Chapter 9 The Unspoken Code of Law School Etiquette 143
Things You Should Do 144
It is your duty to follow the honor code 144
Share your class notes, hornbooks, and outlines with anyone who needs them 146
Phrase in-class comments as questions--not statements 147
The wrong way to make a point 147
A better way to make the same point 148
When you're speaking, speak up, and when you're not, shut up! 149
When referring to cases or statutes, provide page or section numbers 149
Reign in your electronics 150
Maintain a sense of humor 150
Things You Shouldn't Do 150
Resist the urge to make unsolicited, tangential, or politically charged comments during lectures 150
Don't boast about your study habits 152
Safeguard your reputation 153
Adhere to your school's recruiting guidelines 154
Avoid all postmortem discussions about exams 155
Never discuss grades 156
Chapter 10 The T-Minus One Month Checkpoint: How to Arrive Ahead of the Competition 157
I've missed a couple of classes, a couple of reading assignments, and I'm two weeks or less behind in outlining for each class 158
I've fallen way behind in my outlining--what do I do? 159
Panic button 160
Read Legalines to catch up, and find four good student outlines for your courses 161
What Else Do I Have to Do Between Now and Exams? 163
Acquire old exams 163
Clarify exam rules with each of your professors 164
Send query letters to potential employers 164
Chapter 11 Making Your Summer Plans: How to Win the 1L Recruiting Lottery 166
The firm 168
Interning for a judge 173
Working for a public-service organization 177
Researching for a professor 178
Working it 179
Chapter 12 Your First Semester Endgame 181
It's time to find an off-campus location to study 181
Mapping out the law 184
How to create a "case map" 185
Creating a bullet outline 187
Taking sample exams 188
Review sessions 190
The final hours 192
Exam day 192
Examsmanship 193
But wait ... my exam is closed book! 196
The "doomsday scenario" 197
The Performance Self-Examination: Part One 198
Chapter 13 Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Assessing the Damage and Charting the Course for Your Second Semester 203
I got straight As, mostly As and B+'s, or I am ahead of the curve in most classes 204
I got a mix of grades, some ahead and some behind the curve 205
One grade is widely disparate from the others 206
All grades at or below the mean 206
The Performance Self-Examination: Part Two 209
Chapter 14 First-Year Endgame: Succeeding in Exams and the Law Review Competition 213
The law review competition 215
So should you do it? 220
Chapter 15 Working for Free or Working for Pay, Your First Summer Paves the Way 223
For those clerking for a judge 225
For those going to a firm 226
For those going into public-service jobs 230
Thoughts about your 1L summer 231
Part 3 The Second Year, They Work You to Death 233
Chapter 16 Charting a Course for Your Upper Years 235
The bar exam preparation approach 236
The survey approach 237
The major or career-focus approach 240
Majors 241
The clinical approach 244
Other considerations 245
Chapter 17 Your Survival Guide to Recruiting Season 246
How to decide where to interview 247
How to prepare yourself for the screening interview 248
Know your audience 248
Be prompt and polite 250
Dress conservatively 250
So what are they going to ask me, anyway? 251
When a "stunner" goes over the line 255
What you should ask 255
The things you should avoid 256
A few horror stories to calm you down 257
Chapter 18 Everything You Need to Know About Callback Interviews 258
So what the heck is a "callback" anyway? 258
Scheduling appointments 260
Tackling the callback interview 262
How to handle the recruiting meal 264
When the callback is over 265
Some horror stories to calm you down 266
Chapter 19 Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Law Firm Hiring: An Interview with Douglas H. Meal of Ropes & Gray and David W. McGrath of Sheehan, Phinney, Bass & Green 267
The Summer Associateship Itself 294
Chapter 20 The Future Is Now: Using the "Relevance Calculus" to Choose a Firm 301
How to compare starting salaries 301
Salary Comparison Chart 304
Choosing a firm using the "relevance calculus" 306
Description of factors in the relevance calculus 307
The Relevance Calculus 312
Chapter 21 Back on the Chain Gang: Advice About Journal Membership 315
Writing your note or comment 319
The case note 319
The comment 319
Choose a topic that fascinates you 321
Find a mentor on the faculty 321
Stay organized, and stay on deadline 322
Chapter 22 Restoring Balance: Moot Court, Public Service, and How to Reclaim the Life You've Lost 323
Public-service opportunities 325
Moot court 326
Inns of Court 327
Law school committees 328
Chapter 23 Keys to Ascension: Turning 2L Summer Employment into a Permanent Offer 330
When you arrive 331
Handling assignments 332
Managing your workload 333
Billing your time 335
Using Westlaw and LEXIS at the firm 336
Getting the work you want 336
Getting feedback on your work 337
Escaping the clutches of a possessive partner 338
Confront problems immediately 339
Getting along with the other summer associates 339
Proper etiquette at firm social events 340
Some closing thoughts 342
Part 4 And the Third Year, They Bore You to Death 345
Chapter 24 Demystifying Judicial Clerkships: Hie Thee to the Chambers 347
State Court Clerkships 348
State trial and intermediate appellate courts 348
State supreme courts (highest court) 349
Federal Court Clerkships 350
Federal district courts 350
Specialty courts 351
Federal circuit courts of appeals 351
The United States Supreme Court 352
Why People Clerk 352
How to Apply for a Judicial Clerkship 353
Choosing your judges 353
What to send 355
The cover letter 356
Your resume 356
Your writing sample 357
How to choose your recommenders 358
Negotiating the new law clerk hiring plan 359
Preparing your applications 361
When you return to campus 363
Scheduling interviews 363
The interview itself 364
Accepting an offer 367
Chapter 25 Opportunity Knocks Again ... A Second Chance at Recruiting 369
How to handle phone calls from people at your old firm 371
If you didn't get an offer from your 2L firm 372
Chapter 26 Last Semester Cross-Checks 375
Ensure that you have enough credits to graduate 375
Ensure that you've taken and passed all required courses 376
Cocurricular or extracurricular requirements 376
Verify that your tuition has been paid 377
Register for the bar exam and get your firm to pay for it 377
Register for and take the MPRE 379
Arrange a start date with your firm, judge, or placement 381
Make advance accommodations in your new place of employment 381
Ma
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 49 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2003

    This book was a HUGE help

    I really enjoyed this book. It minimized my law school fears big time. The chapters were very informative and I refer to this book and others when I need to step back and re-evaluate my progress. I would definitely pick up this book if you want to make sure you're on the right track.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2003

    Extremely helpful!

    I read it from cover to cover in a minute. This is an extremely helpful, not only does it help with the steps leading up to law school, but it also provides tips for how to live your life throughout the law school experience. Lots of information - but it's not a book to buy if you want help with applying. It's got everything else though.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2003

    A 'MUST-HAVE' book for law school bound students...

    Robert Miller, along with about a dozen of his cohorts, have put together an excellent book that definitely is invaluable to any student either thinking about or preparing for law school. You will find in this book all you need to know about what to expect before, during, and after law school. The authors share to a great extent how to study for exams, prepare briefs, compete for law review, and apply for those critical summer associate positions, just to name a few. Each author's credentials speak for themselves as most of them have undergone law school at the most prestigious institutions and are currently working for top law firms in the United States. I also highly recommend Scott Turow's One L and Starting Off Right in Law School by Carolyn Nygren for further insight into what one can expect in law school.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2003

    Before you attend law school, read this book!

    Folks, If you're even thinking about attending law school, read this book! LSC walks you through every stage of the process: thinking about law school; determining if it's right for you; applying to law schools; how to settle in to law school; how to do well once classes begin; how to secure employment; and, LSC tells you how to pass the bar exam. In short, LSC takes you from beginning to end on how to become a lawyer. Get this book, and you won't say, 'I wish I knew then what I know now...' With LSC, you can have that wish granted! Regardless of whether or not you ultimately attend law school, buying LSC is the BEST $20 you'll ever spend. The worst that could happen is that you could save tens of thousands of dollars and learn about what law school is like. That alone was fascinating reading, at least for me. For an insider's view of law school and the legal profession, LSC can't be beat!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2003

    A MUST READ!!!!

    I have been out of school for about 8 years and am going to law school in the fall. I was very nervous about learning how to study all over again. This book has calmed my fears. It gave me a great sense of what to expect and how to tackle the work load. I would recommend this to anyone that's even just thinking about going to law school.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2003

    A helpful guide for all prospective law school students

    I first picked up Law School Confidential in the summer before my senior year of college to get advice about the dreadful law school application process. Being the first in my family to go to law school, and without personally knowing any professionals in the law world, I was quite anxious about what to stress in my personal statement, what impresses admissions committees, and how choose which schools to apply to. I found straightforward and helpful suggestions in this book. By the time I was done applying to schools, my copy of the text was filled with sticky notes marking off bits of advice I thought were especially helpful. I even used Miller¿s outline of a good personal statement to jumpstart my own essay. More than that, however, Law School Confidential has followed me through my law school experience. After completing my applications, I revisited the book in order to get some advice on where I should actually enroll. Miller presents the reader with an enlightening method of sorting out what school provides one with a best fit, along with realistic accounts of a law school student¿s debts. In addition, as a future IL, I also had concerns about what to expect in school in September. Once again I consulted Law School Confidential. Along with taking me through the application process, Miller¿s book reveals what to expect in the first, second, and third years at law school. Among the many topics discussed are classroom subjects, how to secure internships, and ways to study that have worked well for previous students. I plan to be attending a competitive law school in the fall, and reading Miller¿s book has made me feel much more confident about what to expect, how to react, and how I will succeed in my schooling and future career. This book truly is a complete guide to the law school experience. While those simply considering law school will learn from this book whether or not this route is for them, I highly recommend Law School Confidential to all serious pre-law students. Even if you¿re at the end of the application process, Miller¿s offers great advise for how to survive the three years you¿ll spend in law school. However, if you¿re lucky enough to discover this title before you start applying, read through to find invaluable advise on the application process and give yourself the best possible chance to get into the school of your choice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2003

    the one you must buy and read cover to cover

    I've read 4 books on the topic thus far and this is by far the best. It's the most thorough and covers the topics I am most interested in, the others were quite lacking in comparison. Go ahead and trust all of the positive reviews on this website, this time they're not just hype! This book is by far the most informative and gives you a strategy on notetaking and studying for the consistent student and the procrastinator. Great tips on what to do, how much time you can expect to study, even a suggestion on a schedule for studying. LSC is tremendously helpful, before you go to law school you need to read this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2003

    It Works!

    I returned to law school after having worked for many years. I read several books on law school and found this one to be BY FAR the BEST! It provides a system for excelling in law school that works. I followed the advice on briefing in technicolor, outlining as you go, case maps, bullet lists etc. I also followed the advice on getting my resume together before starting law school. I am happy to say that I just finished my first semester with a 3.8 GPA and I landed a summer job with a large firm over Christmas break! Thanks Robert Miller!!! I will definately recommend this book to incoming 1L's next year!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2003

    A must-read for anyone considering law school!

    I came across this book by accident while looking though the law school section of a boookstore. This book is truly the most insightful law school-related book that I have read. Miller and the other contributers walk the reader though the entire law school process, from "thinking about law school" to the completion of the bar exam. Although this is technically a "how-to" book, the conversational tone makes it truly appealing. The contributions of the "mentors" definitely sets this book apart from the rest. These individuals have attended law schools across the country, so they are able to make unique (as opposed to one-sided or redundant) contributions. I'll conclude by saying that I am glad that I found this book BEFORE law school!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2002

    LOVE IT!

    I'm an undergrad and considering the whole process of the LSAT and law school. This book answered every question I had, as well as the questions I had not yet thought to ask. It is great because if I end up in law school this book is an amazing reference tool! If you have friends or family considering law school, or who just want to learn more about the whole idea, pick them up a copy as well!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2002

    Thank God for Mr. Miller!

    I will be attending orientation in the fall for Law School and honestly had no real clue about what I'm in for! Sure, I have mentors already in the field and a 2L for a friend... However, as I have exhausted them and embarassed myself with my bajillions of questions, this book was a Godsend. Miller answered all of my questions and I will use this book as my Law School bible.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2002

    You Have to Read This

    ...if you're thinking about law school (or even know that you're going. Of all the pre-law books I've seen, this definitely the best. Most importantly, the book is easy to read and keeps your attention. Also, Robert Miller's straigh-forward, no-bull, approach to describing law school is very valuable in deciding whether or not law school is the right decision. I refer to this book frequently and know I will continue to do so as I begin law school. The study approaches outlined in this book are easy to understand and I believe will be very helpful. It's great to have the insight of recent grads.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2002

    This book is a MUST read!

    I was looking to buy a book that explained the law school experience. I read the reviews of many books on the subject, and by far, LAW SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL came out on top. But nothing could prepare me for the book itself. I am starting my law school career later in life, having worked for many years as an accountant. I am a CPA with a master¿s degree in taxation, so I wanted to make sure law school was a wise choice for me. This book was helpful, insightful, funny, often intimidating and very poignant. It is a complete guidebook from A to Z. Author Robert Miller suggests you read the book from cover to cover, and then read the sections again when they apply to you (for example, what you should be doing during the summer of your second year of law school). This book starts from simply thinking about law school, includes preparing for the LSAT, applying to law schools, surviving the first semester, and gives step-by-step hints (or what to expect) at each stage of law school, right up until the bar exam. There is a section on how to use the book, which can be used to quickly find a chapter once you¿ve read the book. Not only does Miller use his own wisdom and experience, he uses the assistance of several other recent law school graduates, all with different backgrounds, reasons for going to law school, and career paths. Many of the insights are very candid; some of the lawyers would not do it again if they knew about the experiences in law school. I¿ve always been an avid reader. I bought this book for some helpful information, but I never realized that this would be so gripping. I couldn¿t wait to come home after work to finish reading it. It reads like a good novel. If you are thinking about law school, or love someone who is, then buy this book! You won¿t regret it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2002

    GREAT BOOK

    I have read and reread this book, all before I even heard that I got into law school. My dad got this book for me. I already have half of the items they suggested. This book is not a waste of time or money!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2002

    Future Law Student Saved!

    I was recently accepted into a law program, and have been getting more and more anxious as the Fall approaches. I found this book and, after sitting down and reading it for over an hour at the book store, I purchased it and finished it in just a few nights. I now know what to expect, and how I will prepare myself for the next three grueling years of my life. The book was a big help, and I highly recomend it to anyone even considering Law School.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2001

    I am a 1L at a top 20 law school and this book VERY practical

    This book tells you exactly what you need to know about law school including scheduling, studying and how to wind down. VERY IMPRESSIVE

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2001

    Read It or Else...a Parents Reaction

    My daughter did everything right to get into a top 10 law school...at least we and she thought so......invited into the prestigious undergraduate Honors College at a top 10 Public University...top 2% of 50,000 students...traveled abroad twice...EXCEPT, we did not read Mr. Millers Book until After the Law App process...now we collectively hold our breath, because of a strategic error. A private mentor might save applicants,and, their parents a lot of headaches...and this is a close as you'll get to a private FOR HIRE mentor...we know! Concerned Parents and applicants Must Read it as soon as their is a glimmer of an interest in : The Law and a top Law School Experience. Mr. Miller is truly at the top of his game having lived throught the process RECENTLY...and since he had close friends make strategic errors, including friends who were studying at Universities ranked in the top 5 for undergrad, he can speak closely to the 'dark side' of a mistake. There are many opportunities which are matched by equally obnoxious and unfair pratfalls within the HEIRARCHY of Law Scools Pay close attention to this in the book. Miller does a fine job of outling options...so that the students have an increased chance of getting into their top 'schools of choice' and knowing what that really means!! WE are finding out the hard way that everything in here is current, accurate, and he does not sugarcoat the reality of getting into 'THE BIG TOP' and what it will be like 'in the tent'.. Parents should read this so you are on the same page as your graduate. This may be the last and most influential thing you do for and with them. It may help you understand why your new 'star graduate' may even need some time off before law school...Remember...a top law student is not a 'Machine' and the Top Law Schools will prove it...Be sure its not at your mutual expense.. BUY The Book! READ The Book! BELIEVE The Book.!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2001

    GREAT BOOK!!!

    Being only a freshman in college, even I thought that this book served as a useful tool in helping my decision to be a future lawyer. Now I know what to expect! I am glad that Miller wrote this book, it was easy to understand and I couldn't put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    Applicants Must Read This Book

    A few weeks ago, I was accepted at an Ivy League law school that was one of my top choices. Because my application had some serious 'issues' that the book specifically addressed, I wholeheartedly recommend that all applicants take the time to read Robert Miller's work. Miller's interview with a law school admissions officer does a superb job at clarifying the issues confronting a person who actually makes the decision on an application. I really never thought of some of the issues that the book discussed when I was filling out application forms. Some of the book's specific suggestions gave me the idea to say certain things on my admissions materials that I believe made a decisive impact in having the previously mentioned school accept me relatively early in the admissions cycle. I do not guarantee that others will have the same or even a remotely similar experience. But I do believe that the book will give future readers certain ideas about how to approach the application process that they never thought of.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2000

    THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!

    This book is the rage right now, and for good reason! I've read all the books available about how to succeed in law school, and Law School Confidential is unquestionably the best one. It is exceptionally well written, clear, and chock-full of helpful information about everything from applying to law school to optimizing study methods to studying for and taking exams to getting jobs and clerkships. This is a MUST READ for anyone in law school, or thinking about applying, and it is a book that you will use and interact with for all three years.

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