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Posted February 21, 2012
Law School Undercover is a book that is concise and readable. The book is divided into three main sections, focusing on "before law school" (getting in), "making the grade" (succeeding in class and exams), and "career moves" (self explanatory). Professor X knows why people will pick this book up - i.e. because he's a law professor - and he sticks to what the reader wants, which is specific insider information from a law professor, not merely generic, watery advice. Like almost all of the law school guides published by The Fine Print Press, this isn't intended to be yet another milquetoast encyclopedia of everything to do with law school. It's a guide with a point, a guide written to fill a gap in the knowledge base, rather than simply a guide that covers what has already been covered. And to be honest, the gap left in the knowledge base by the absence, until now, of a solid book written by a law professor was huge. It's only after reading Law School Undercover do you realize how much you didn't know. But please don't think that this means Law School Undercover is so narrow that it can't be a valuable guide to law school as a stand-alone book; it can. Perhaps as proof, it even has a brief section about romance in law school, the hallmark of a law school guide that has it all. (I'm guilty of this as an author, too, as are many others.)
Law School Undercover attempts to instill in the reader the importance of personal satisfaction and enjoyment in their future life as a practicing lawyer, a sense that a legal career is not a sprint to that Biglaw job right after passing the bar exam, and that a career in law is a journey that will - if undertaken thoughtfully - last for many decades. While no guide book can change the economy and suddenly produce enough jobs for law graduates, Law School Undercover is the only guide book that tries hard to make the reader understand that they must take ownership of their own career, and that careful choices (and some counterintuitive choices) before, during and after law school will be more likely to produce a stable, satisfying legal career than mindlessly believing that the huge salary in a large law firm is the gold standard of success (which has been the downfall of many a recent law graduate).
In fact, much of the advice in the book is what I would call counterintuitive. Or, perhaps more accurately, counter to commonly-accepted law school advice. For example, the entire section on "getting in" reveals that your GPA is far more than a mere number (as claimed by just about every other law school guide), and that admissions officers can, and do, regularly look behind a GPA to find out more about the applicant. The same goes for employment prior to law school, or experiences during college; law-related jobs and activities aren't particularly impressive to admissions officers, who would much rather see non-law (i.e. interesting and diverse) employment and activities. Think that year of working as a paralegal in a large firm will demonstrate your commitment to a legal career that will impress the admissions officers? Think again. And considering the background of the author, who has two decades of experience as a professor in a number of law schools and clearly possesses first-hand experience working on admissions committees, who are you inclined to believe? The guide book written by the law grad with no such experience, or the guide book written by the auth