Law School Undercover: A Veteran Law Professor Tells The Truth About Admissions, Classes, Cases, Exams, Law Review, Jobs, and More

Law School Undercover: A Veteran Law Professor Tells The Truth About Admissions, Classes, Cases, Exams, Law Review, Jobs, and More


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781888960150
Publisher: Fine Print Press, The
Publication date: 05/01/2011
Pages: 149
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

“Professor X” is a law professor and dean with 20 years’ experience. He is a graduate of a national law school, where he was a member of the law review. Before starting his academic career, he clerked for a federal court and practiced law for a national law firm. As a law professor, he has written extensively in his field and taught at three law schools, in which he won numerous teaching awards. He estimates he has personally instructed at least 2,000 law students.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Foreword xi

Introduction xxi

To Law School We Go xxi

Says Who? xxv

Part 1 Before Law School

Should 1 Apply? 1

Is Law School Right for Me? 2

Will Law School Pay Off? 6

Which Law School is Best for Me? 13

What Will I Receive at a Top School that I Wouldn't Get Elsewhere? 16

At Which Legal Market Should I Aim? 22

Getting In 31

The LSAT without the "A" 31

The Real GPA 35

Never Too Late 38

Mixed Messages 39

Excuses 39

The Softs We Love 44

Letters of Recommendation the Easy Way 48

Application Essay Recipe 49

Strategic Applications 51

Targeting the National Schools 52

The Regional Schools 56

The Local Schools 58

Part 2 Making The Grade

Getting Ready 63

The Most Important Prep You Can Do 63

Are Briefs Better? 66

Developing a Law School Mentality 70

Class 75

How to Behave 75

How to Prepare for Class 80

The Difficulty of Legal Writing 83

Outlines and Study Groups 85

Romance 88

Exam Preparation 91

How to Learn the Law 93

How to Take Class Notes 100

Examinations 103

Exam Questions 105

Exam Answers 108

Exam Strategy 112

Part 3 Career Moves

Law Review 119

Law Professor 125

Your School 125

Your Chances 129

Lawyer 133

Choosing Your Career in Law School 135

Beginning Your Career in Law School 138

Course Selection 139

Professor Recommendations 140

Grade Curves 142

Networking, Summer Jobs, and Internships 143

Footnote 147

About the Author 151

Index 153

Other Books 157


From the Introduction:

Recently one of my children, a daughter, graduated from law school. As you might expect from a student whose father is a law professor, my daughter sought my advice frequently, from the beginning of the process until the end. And here’s what surprised me: My advice to her differed from the advice I had given to the many other young people who had once asked me the same questions.

When my daughter asked about applications and admissions, about course selection, reading and studying, grades, honors, and so forth, I found myself giving her answers that were in tension, and sometimes diametrically opposite, to what I had customarily told others. My usual advice had always been a repetition of what I might call the “common wisdom”—applying oneself tirelessly, reading every assignment, briefing cases, outlining courses, and just generally striving towards the highest accolades.

But when it came to my own daughter, I simply could not give those same answers. I realized that, deep down, I knew that the common wisdom is a lie, and a harmful one at that. I didn’t want my own loved one going down that path. Instead, I gave her the real story, all the inside information about application strategies and school selection, about optimal course schedules and grade-getting, about the easiest way to achieve honors and about the minimal real requirements of law school. I didn’t want her visiting the mental health center. I didn’t want her spending three years of her life in the condition of heightened stress that plagues, and in my view tragically encumbers, contemporary legal education. I wanted her to emerge from law school healthy and whole, having enjoyed the experience, having learned what was necessary to her future, and sufficiently rested and prepared to begin the more arduous, but rewarding, practice of law.

My daughter followed my advice, all the way through. She graduated from a top law school (with high honors), landing a prestigious clerkship with a federal judge and securing an attractive offer of employment from a national law firm. In every sense of the word, she had an academically successful law school experience. As importantly, she found law school unhurried and intellectually stimulating, just as it was supposed to be, just as it once was. Seldom did she feel overly stressed or rushed, and had time to make friends, enjoy life, and maintain close family relations. The tears were few. My daughter’s legal education became a fond memory and will be a lasting highlight to her young life.

In contrast, for most students law school is the intellectual equivalent to Marine boot camp. It is tiresome, stressful, scary, and debilitating. Its pace alternates between boring and terrifying. I know that I have participated in creating this madness, and certainly the advice I have parceled out to class after class of students has exacerbated their plight. This book is my expiation. I hope in sharing this advice—this personal message from a father to his daughter—that I can relieve the daughters and sons of other parents from the undue and unnecessary burden of legal education. I wish to make amends.

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Law School Undercover: A Veteran Law Professor Tells The Truth About Admissions, Classes, Cases, Exams, Law Review, Jobs, and More 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Charles_Cooper More than 1 year ago
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