How to Seek a Higher Salary After a Low Job Offer

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If you are a law student who served as a summer associate this year, you are probably waiting to hear if the firm will extend to you a job offer.

Unlike businesses that post job openings, law firms operate under different rules in the hiring process. One difference is in the counteroffer.

In business, a job candidate offered a low salary can normally counteroffer by modifying the terms. However, as this Lexis Nexis article illustrates, whether to counteroffer at a law firm is a delicate matter. A proper approach in business may not be appropriate in the practice of law.

You can read about one student’s mistake making a counteroffer and what he wishes he had done here: The Counteroffer, By Pete Meyers.

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Why Using an Online Legal Dictionary is Best

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The CALI Pre-Law Blog recently discouraged law students from buying a legal dictionary: What Legal Dictionary Should I Buy For Law School?

I generally agree, mostly because of the availability of online law dictionaries.

My Approach. I bought a pocket dictionary for my backpack and the full Black’s Law Dictionary for my desk. I didn’t use the pocket dictionary after the first few months. However, I did use it in the first semester until I learned how to use the legal dictionary on WestLaw. Also, the pocket dictionary was handy when I didn’t have a laptop next to me, like when sitting in a large comfortable chair at the coffee shop. As for the large Black’s Law Dictionary on my desk—I still have never used it.

The Better Approach. If I could do it all over, I would

  1. not buy the large Black’s Law Dictionary that I never use
  2. only buy the pocket dictionary if I planned to study without my laptop
  3. use online legal dictionaries

Online Dictionaries. Here are the online legal reference websites I found most useful: Law Dictionaries.

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Why Buying Old Casebook Editions is Stupid

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Old Casebook EditionsCALI’s Pre-Law Blog recently discouraged students from buying old casebooks. I agree—Old casebooks may save a few dollars, but if that leads to a lower grade on a final exam, it’s not worth it.

Although there are exceptions, old casebooks generally will

  • be missing cases provided in the new casebook
  • include old cases removed from the new casebook
  • be missing comments in the new casebook about recent changes in the law
  • quote old versions of a Restatement, statute, or code that may be obsolete

Sure, students can photocopy or download the cases in a new casebook. But that requires borrowing a copy of the new casebook, time figuring out what cases to replace, determining what page numbers each case is on (so you can read the right cases for class), and you will still probably overlook updates to editor’s comments after each case.

Although law students may be able to manage this without missing a major point in the law, the additional work and stress probably isn’t worth the money saved.

Also, old casebooks are especially problematic in open-book or take-home exams because Read the rest of this article »

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Should I Join a Study Group in Law School?

3L Students, 0L Pre-Law, 2L Students, 1L Students, Law School Exams, All Articles 2 Comments »

Some law students say study groups are a waste of time, such as this student. Others consider them valuable, such as this student.

I. What is a Study Group?
I would define a “law school study group” as a routine meeting of students to discuss cases or concepts covered in class. In other words, this isn’t a few friends who quietly study together—it’s a discussion. Sometimes study groups meet to discuss their readings prior to the class covering those readings. Sometimes study groups meet after class to discuss the points raised in class. Some study groups combine both functions.

II. Reasons Against Study Groups.
Students invited me to study groups, but I didn’t find them an efficient use of time. This was because most of the discussion was on Read the rest of this article »

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How to Make a Good Impression at Law School Orientation

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Your friends may give you good advice about law school orientation. But this advice from the perspective of a professor seemed especially helpful: Law School Orientation Advice. Written by a Mississippi College School of Law professor, the article adds a touch of humor when explaining how you can make a good impression despite the natural nervousness that occurs this first day of law school.

A couple additional tips are posted at the CALI Pre-Law Blog in response to Professor Bowman’s advice.

I don’t have much to add, except a few points from my experience:

  1. Annoying Students. A few students established a reputation of being overly-excited and competitive by sitting in the front row and raising their hands to ask questions, especially since the questions seemed to be more about hearing themselves talk than hearing the answer. And the fact that they did this the entire first semester reinforced their reputation. After the first semester, when they received mediocre grades, they became quieter.
  2. Professors’ Advice. Professors give new students a lot of advice. Write this down and review it a week or two later. It is great advice, so it is worth thoughtful consideration during a quiet moment sometime, after the chaos of orientation. Also, professors used terms I didn’t understand, but a few weeks into the semester, the professors’ advice made more sense.
  3. Make a Few Friends. Introduce yourself to the people sitting next to you. Some students make the mistake of being too quiet the first day. Others act like they are running for political office. I found the balance of meeting a few people without being too ambitious made for a nice, enjoyable experience.
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What Law Students Wish They Would Have Known

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The Wish I Would Have Known blog publishes advice for new law students—advice that the authors wish they would have known before starting law school. Although it hasn’t had new information in about a month, the advice there is useful:

The most recent article covers the following topics :

  • Why haven’t I gotten my financial aid information yet?
  • Should I get a co-signer?
  • What about GraduatePLUS loans?
  • Should I get insurance?
  • Should I try to get residency where I’m going to be attending school?

The article titled Intra-Section Dating: Can One Who Plays With Fire Not Get Burned? covers the following topics:

  1. Dating within your section can

Read the rest of this article »

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1L Question: Do Smart Law Students Sit in the Front Row?

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A 1L recently asked me this question. I’ve often wondered if there is any correlation between where a student sits and academic performance. In short, I believe there is none. I say this based on the fact that I know the top students in many classes I’ve taken (because they tell me their grades after the semester) and they sat in the front row, back row, and everywhere in-between.

However, I have noticed, especially in the first semester of law school, that the most aggressive students sit in the front rows. Many of them like to raise their hands and talk. However, they are often quieter the next semester after they have been humbled by receiving their grades from the first semester. In fact, many of the students I know with the highest grades are the quietest ones in class.

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How Law Students Benefit from Hornbooks

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What Are Hornbooks?
Undergraduate students may think of a Hornbook as similar to regular college textbook. A hornbook explains the legal doctrine subject by subject, which is different from law school casebooks that explain the law by presenting cases that deal with each topic.

Are Hornbooks Like Study Aids?
In a way, hornbooks are like Emanuel or Gilbert study aids, which also explain legal doctrine subject by subject. However, Emanuel or Gilbert study aids give a shorter, summarized version.

The shortness of an Emanuel or Gilbert study aid is appreciated by many law students because law students already have too much to read.

However, the depth of a hornbook is appreciated when a law student seeks to understand a finer point in the law, and the hornbook will provide citations to cases on that point.

Are Hornbooks Useful for Take-Home Exams?
Many students like Read the rest of this article »

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