Malice Aforethought: Getting Through (Law School, Part 3)


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Some jurisdictions do not let you complete your moral application before taking or passing the bar. Some NY Jurisdictions let you do it after the bar exam is complete. If you took it in Manhattan like me, you need to wait until you passed.

    I took the California Bar in Santa Clara. The convention center was attached to the Hilton. It was very nice to unwind at the end of each testing day with a beer by the pool. Then again, I have always been a glass of wine or beer with dinner kind of guy.

    I agree that BarBri or a comparable course is mandatory. I know some people who tried to go solo or use an alternative/cheaper program without great results.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Personally, I think a glass of wine or a beer is not a sufficient amount of alcohol to count as “mind-altering.” Of course, by the time I took the bar, my tolerance to alcohol had been built up to a level I’ve not been able to achieve since.Report

    • *Raises hand*

      I did pretty well using solo programs for NY and then NJ a few years later. However, I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone – these were the second and third bar exams I sat for, and I used Barbri for my first exam (VA). By the time I sat for NY and then NJ, I knew what to expect for the multi-state and really just needed a refresher course. It helped that NJ didn’t require any major jurisdiction-specific knowledge for its essays. For NY, I quickly figured out that my best bet on the essay portion was to take my initial impulse from the VA exam and then just write the opposite.Report

  2. Re: payment

    Are there military scholarships in law similar to other professions? Do you know individuals who have joined the military after law school? How are they liking their lives?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      I don’t know about this one way or the other. A classmate with whom I later became law partners was in the National Guard during law school, having deferred admission a year or two because he was activated for service during the First Gulf War. But since he served in the regular units and not JAG I don’t think he got any particular help from the military.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      I know one guy from law school who became JAG after law school.

      He seems to enjoy it. The funny part is that he is very New York and I think got stationed in Alaska. This amuses me.Report

  3. Avatar Barry says:

    About JAG/military:

    1) If somebody served before school, there will be some sort of GI Bill-type educational benefits (probably not enough to cover law school, but at least something).

    2) From what people say on the blogs, JAG is now very competitive to get into, so that probably applies to any JAG law school scholarships.Report

  4. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    “minute comparative differences between you and your equally smart classmates will produce what appear to be major disparities in scores and thus your all-important rank in the class”

    One thing I observed about some of my equally smart classmates was a tendency to have trouble seeing different sides of an issue or problem. Most often they had a natural compassion for the perceived victim in the hypothetical, and a blind sport for legal rights or defenses available to the other side. Tests are often written to see if you can spot all of the legal issues that might be implicated, not just the best ones and not the just the ones you prefer.

    This may relate back to the reasons they went to lawschool: “Something Is Terribly Wrong With The World And I Intend To Acquire And Use Super Attorney Powers To Fix It.” In my day, those students got fun, though not lucrative jobs in public interest.Report

  5. Avatar Michelle says:

    Law school is principally taught by way of the “Socratic method,” which consists of you reading stuff (caselaw and excerpted statutes, mostly) to prepare for class, and then being asked to “stand and deliver” by the instructor.

    Not a whole lot of Socratic method at my law school. When we were called upon to discuss a case, we generally knew beforehand. Most times, the professor just called on people who raised their hands.Report

  6. Avatar Diablo says:

    So…law school sounds like a BS in engineering (including the post school FE license) except you have a job at the end of it.Report

  7. Avatar Peter says:

    About the only bit of good news is the huge falloff in law school applications. They are down 38% from 2010, which when you think about it is a massive decline. It’s especially surprising in that so many people in their early 20’s have raging cases of Nothing Bad Can Happen to Me syndrome. Not to mention the fact that the non-quantitative sorts who traditionally flock to law schools may not have many other decent job options with their BA’s.Report

    • Avatar Gaelen says:

      If I remember this correctly, what’s really depressing is that the better students are the ones who have stayed away. So even within the good news that kids are starting to listen, the wrong kids seem to be listening.Report

    • Avatar Barry says:

      ” It’s especially surprising in that so many people in their early 20?s have raging cases of Nothing Bad Can Happen to Me syndrome.”

      It’s not really that. It’s academically successful students doing what society tells them to do, and what they’ve been doing and rewarded for for 16 years. And also the simple fact that ‘law school’ has massive prestige, far above what most of them should have.Report