Thursday, November 16, 2006

More Advice from the Trenches

Zuska made some important points in her comment, so I've published it - with my own bit of commentary - for all to read:

I largely agree with your advice. Except that I found the commercial outlines to be a waste of my time - or a luxury I didn't have time for. I read my assigned cases, and that was pretty much it.

With a toddler and a kindergartner underfoot, I don't always have time to read all my assigned cases (or all the background and history stuff). In which case, my prep for class looks a lot like this: book brief case and use commercial outline to clarify. Mine is only one method. There are many more out there. Just find one that works for you!

I've also been lucky in that I have a job lined up now for after graduation, so my 3L year can be spent taking some non-traditional classes. I think it also helps my sanity to have things that truly interest me, and aren't pure WORK, since law school and parenting leaves very little time for hobbies or reading for pleasure.

I agree that maintaining your sanity should be a big priority. However, I would caution anyone to resist resting on your laurels because you have a job offer. You still have the BAR exam to get through. I know at least three people whose job offers vanished because they failed the July exam.

I also know lots of people who passed the July bar exam. Those who passed took classes during their third-year that may have been the difference between passing and failing. At my school, Advanced Legal Analysis is one of the many courses offered only to 3L students. Why? Because the entire class is spent reviewing and answering questions from the most recent BAR exam. If you can get BAR prep while you're in school, why wouldn't you take that class?

Head on over to Zuska's place for more great advice on making it through law school as a parent.

1 comment:

Zuska said...

I will definitely acknowledge that it HAS to be a different thing to parent toddlers while in law school than it is for me, with an 8 and 10 year old. Still, if I was going to have to skip out on reading every word of a case, I'd go to skimming a case instead.

And the whole question as to whether or not you should take bar classes or other classes is a big one, and I do not think it is related to being a parent. For me, a class in my 1L year or 2L year, or even 3L fall is NOT bar prep - whether it's a topic on the bar or not. My retention isn't that good. I'm a crammer, and a look-things-up-as-I-go-er. Last spring (2L spring) I took all bar classes, and it was dull as crap. I am wanting to get the most out of this law school experience as I can, and part of that is being exposed to all kinds of different subjects - even ones that aren't on the bar.

My school does, however, offer a Friday afternoon bar prep class in the spring for us 3L's - 3 hours, no credit, no test - just bar prep lectures.

I have no fear that I will fail the bar exam b/c I took Comparative Law and spent my quarter writing about Afghanistan, or b/c I will take Balancing Security and Liberty in the Spring and spend that quarter writing about enemy combatants. I'll pass probably with the same exact score that I would have gotten if I took secured transactions this quarter.