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LSAT Kung Fu Blog

Oct 16 2017
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When it comes to LSAT, I'm Ali. But this week of law school, I felt a little more like Liston.

Before we go any further, I have to say something that you already kind of know about me: I hold myself and my work to an extremely high standard.

I wasn’t always this way: in college, I skated, man. I did juuuust enough to keep my scholarship. I skipped class all the time. I got As in the classes I liked, and just blew off the others.

I’ve evolved, is what I’m saying.

That evolution has me determined to graduate at the top of my class. Like, literally Number One is what I’m saying.

Remember the story about my second LSAT and how that compared to my first one?

That’s how I’m feeling every day right now.

But here’s some things I believe to be true:

  1. It’s important to have goals.
  2. Your goals should be difficult.
  3. Your goals should reflect your abilities.
  4. If you never fail, your goals aren’t big enough.

As you’ll remember from previous discussions, I never had large goals as a business that provides LSAT prep resources. Like, I want my students to succeed, and I like hearing about it when they do. I like having students. I like feeling like I'm helping create a community. I like being part of something.

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Oct 9 2017
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That's me on the right.

I have made an important discovery. I need to find a partner for my future law practice who enjoys doing research.

I know that such people must exist, and it is incumbent upon me to find at least one of them to work with me, or I will be forced to put out both my eyes and leave the law entirely to train sheep (the eye-gouging will be necessary to ensure that I never accidentally take up further legal research. I do not know for what endeavor I'll be training the sheep. A heist, maybe?).

I'm entirely confident that I'm not alone in my feelings about doing research, and I know that smart people before me have learned to cope with the exigencies of the trade. But man. I mean, I am learning, and I'm (very slowly, with much difficulty) gaining some skill, but it feels Sisyphean.

In one of the very first jobs I ever had, I worked alongside a wise man who told me it was important to gain a variety of experience, because that way you could  at least rule out some things you knew you didn't want to do.

Well, I now have an increased esteem for law librarians, and a firm sense of one thing I don't want to do (but will probably have to, at least a little).

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Oct 2 2017
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I don't have anything funny to say here.

So guys, I had most of a post written last week in preparation for today. And today we learned that last night, another asshole in an endless parade of sick, sad, horrible, broken people once again very easily got his hands on several weapons capable of killing lots of people very quickly, and then used them to do just that.

And my problems with legal research just don't feel relevant today. Maybe next week.

Today I want to just vent a little, because if I don't let out some of the pressure, I feel like I'll maybe explode.

There is nothing surprising about the events in Las Vegas last night. As a country, you and I made sure that this would happen, and we keep making sure that it will continue to happen. 

Newtown was really the last stand for our American humanity. It was the last test, and we failed it miserably. When we decided that those little kids' deaths wouldn't change anything at all about the way we deal with guns and gun violence in this country, we relinquished our moral authority, we surrendered our judgment, and we lost the war.

We did this.  

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Sep 25 2017
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Like these small dogs that someone has thoughtfully organized in a filing box.

Holy mother of actual god, you guys. Just, really. [Long exhale. That’s better].

So, here’s what I’m thinking about after week five: being organized is maybe (possibly; not for sure, but it’s def. way up there) the most important skill for your success as a 1L.

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Sep 18 2017
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This is just the Week One reading, btw.

I've been thinking about this a lot this month, and I probbly should have told you about it sooner (but you've heard at least some version of this before now, I'm sure).

If you think LSAT Reading Comp is hard, may god preserve you when/if you get into law school.

Here, let’s do some analogies to clarify. [Actually, wait. First, do you remember analogies? Many of you are young enough that you didn’t do them on the SAT. We should probably do a quick Analogy Refresher, then. Analogies of the type I’m discussing take the form Thing A relates to Thing B in the same way that Thing X relates to Thing Y. And they’re written using this format:

Thing A : Thing B :: Thing X : Thing Y

So, for example, 

Being bit by a mosquito : Being stung by a bee :: Being punched by your baby sister : Being punched by your older brother (in which your baby sister is 7, your older brother is 17, and you are 11). The first one in each set is not so bad when compared to the second one in each set. 

Analogies don’t always have to be relative strength comparisons, btw. You could totally say 

Hat : Head :: Glove : Hand

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Sep 11 2017
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These penguins are building their reps.

You start building your reputation almost literally from Day One. Not always; if you are quiet and unassuming, you may escape notice for up to a week or two. But even your silence will come to be taken as a signal of your reputation if that silence persists. And, look, there’s nothing at all wrong with being “the quiet one” (also, there’s zero chance that you’re the quiet one; you will be one of several). Just know that, no matter what you do, you will start law school in the same way you start any other human interaction—by signaling to your cohort who you are.

And that matters, like, a lot. Your incoming class will be divided—the division was made alphabetically in our case, and that’s likely to be your experience too—into smaller sections. Your section will comprise 30-50 other students (usually). These people will be your friends and your future spouses and your enemies and your employers and your employees and opposing counsel and negotiating partners. They are, in a very real way, the fabric of your practice. 

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Sep 4 2017
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And yet, today I will not labor (very much, anyway).

It's Labor Day in the US.

I have a small cold (colds are mofos, man), and I ought to be drinking cold beer at a barbecue, but I am instead indoors deciding whether or not to write a blog post.

I have decided not.

Have a lovely Labor Day, be safe and satiated and then have a productive week.

I'll see you right here next Monday.

Godspeed,

d

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Aug 28 2017
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See? This is what I'm talking about.

The professors tell you what they want. They tell you in plain language, they tell you in English, they tell you in words and with diction and in tone and on their syllabi and with the questions they ask and the answers they give.

They may want the wrong things (I’ll circle back to that in a minute), they may want something different from what you expected they’d want, they may want something you don’t understand the need for. But they tell you. Your first job is to listen.

To do that, one thing you’ve got to do is learn to relax. In the first few classes, it’s SO GODDAMNED NERVE-WRACKING. Now, some of the professors are kind in the extreme. Some of them are… not. But even with the former, you’re sitting there trying to formulate a cogent response, but you’re not really doing that, even, because one half of your brain is screaming at the other half DO NOT SCREW THIS UP, STUPID, which makes it nearly impossible to do the one thing—the only thing—you really have to do: listen to the question you’ve been asked.

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Aug 21 2017
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Are these even law books? WHO KNOWS

Day 1

You know how people like to say that today is the first day of the rest of your life (and then you want to punch them in the throat for being both condescending and clichéd)?

Well, I’m not here to say anything about your life, but I did want to let you know that in a real, non-clichéd, active and experiential sort of way, today is Day 1 for me.

I started law school today.

Why?

Well, everything I’ve said before about not wanting to go, that all still stands. But something changed for me last year, and I did something that very few other people in the world could have done: I decided on November 9th, 2016, that I was going to go to law school, and on December 2nd of that year, I received my acceptance (by email. The letter came a few days after).

Nothing about that is special except for the timeline; there just aren’t very many people who can decide to go to law school and be admitted within three weeks, because of all the stuff you have to do to get in (see the last 6-or-whatever blog posts I’ve written). 

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Aug 7 2017
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Omigod omigod omigod omigod. This pig.

Today is the last entry in our look at each piece of the law school application. We’ve worked chronologically—that is, we took each item in the order that you should (in a perfect world, one in which you can maybe go back in time and fix your mistakes) have been working on it. I’ve chosen to use a Q+A format, to make you feel like we’re in this together. It will be fun. I promise absolutely do not promise that.

Last week, we looked at how your résumé figures into your admissions decision. This week, we’re taking a crack at the application and addenda. Again, we’re going with the Q+A structure, because it’s delightful:

What is it? The LSAC application form is a single electronic application that you can use to apply online to most law schools. Addenda are written additions that you’ll send directly to any law school to which you apply.

Wait. Why would I send a school a “written addition” to my application? Because you had bad grades. There are other conceivable reasons, but that’s the big one. 

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