Tag Archives: 1L

Opinion  /  March 4, 2013  / 

Harvard Law Should Teach Hacking

Change is not something that comes easily to legal education. We still employ the casebook and Socratic methods adopted by Christopher Columbus Langdell in the 1870s. So the prospect of something new—a “Problem-Solving Workshop” (PSW)—sounded like an innovative, practical departure from the norm. After all, I came to law school for the same reason as many of my classmates: to learn how to use the law to solve particular social and economic problems. I began to identify those problems when, after college, I moved to New York to set up mentoring programs in public high schools around the city. I loved working with kids, and I saw the difference that a meaningful relationship with a mentor could make in helping a student graduate high school. But as much as the program helped individual high schoolers, it did little to change the underlying problems affecting students and their communities. If anything, … Continue reading

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Fenno / Opinion  /  January 31, 2013  / 

Closes a Door, Opens a Bottle

Note: This series is fictional.  —- FROM: Lisa Burns SUBJECT: Fall 2012 Grades Now Available (gulp) —- Fresh off a resoundingly successful run of Solving Problems, Fenno was strolling to his first bit of Crim when his phone buzzed. In retrospect, you’d say “buzzed ominously,” but come on, that thing goes off about 85 times a day with crucial email dispatches (“Queueing Theory, Salad Bars, and You: A Message From Restaurant Associates”), and besides—three weeks of pass-fail stakes have a way of driving these sorts of things from one’s mind. But anyway. With the full benefit of hindsight, we can now say “buzzed ominously,” because that subject line sent a shiver down Fenno’s spine. —- To dispense with the suspense, Fenno’s grades were fine. I mean, they’re not going to be naming any buildings after him in 100 years, but on the whole things could have been a lot worse. The … Continue reading

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Fenno / Opinion  /  December 4, 2012  / 

Fenno and the Final Countdown

Note: This series is fictional. The First-Year’s Guide to the Law School has this to say on the subject of Thanksgiving break: They say that time is an illusion; the reading period, doubly so. Law students have for decades observed the strange changes in the rate of time’s passage that occur each and every late-November. Tests that seem, when pondering them over a pile of dried-out turkey, to be eons away, suddenly upon a return to Cambridge accelerate over the chronological horizon with alarming speed. Or, put another way: oh no, tests soon. — Fenno was with his study group, talking through an old Torts issue-spotter and quickly realizing that he had not spotted very many issues at all. He’d barely come up with anything for the question about the landlord who didn’t repair the showerhead with a design defect that caused it to fire ball bearings at near-supersonic speeds … Continue reading

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Opinion  /  November 29, 2012  / 

Why I Chose Corporate

When I started law school I was sure I would be a litigator.  In part this was because the task of constructing and criticizing arguments was what appealed to me about law in the first place; but it was also because I had virtually no idea what a transactional lawyer did.  Finance had never much appealed to me, and my background prior to law school had been largely in academia, not business.  Litigation seemed like a natural fit. But for a variety of reasons, I ended up choosing to begin my career doing corporate work.  The more I learned about what such work entailed, the more interested I became in it, and I realized that while litigation seemed to be a much better fit with my background, corporate was a better match for my personality and what I wanted out of my career. There were some practical concerns that made … Continue reading

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Opinion  /  November 1, 2012  / 

Some More Unsolicited Advice for 1Ls

1Ls certainly receive their fair share of unsolicited advice.  Not wishing to break from tradition, I humbly offer some more.  My advice will concern the timely topic of exams (and if you don’t think this topic is timely please see below regarding when to begin studying). First, however, I will describe my approach to exams 1L fall, as an example what not to do.  I began outlining over Thanksgiving Break, although if I’m being honest, really I did very little until I got back to school.  I brought a lot of books home with me but barely cracked a single one.  This was a mistake.  There is in fact a lot to learn, and it takes time, so I should have started studying earlier.  But when I look back at my preparation for 1L fall exams, what I regret more than when I started studying or what methods I employed … Continue reading

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Opinion  /  February 28, 2012  / 

We Can Handle the Truth (About Grades)

We live submerged in information. Even when we don’t know it, we know how to get it. Anything is a Google search away. Arguments over facts still happen, but at least I, and my smart phone, know how to bring them to a quick and decisive end. I have had two great frustrations at Harvard Law School. Like many of my classmates, I arrived here last August with a little anxiety, a lot of pride, and overwhelmed awe at my presence at this institution. This was Harvard. I am the first in my family. In my excitement to be here at the best, among the best, I thought that everything would be the best. My first great frustration was finding that Harvard is a bureaucracy like any other large institution, and like its august companions, it keeps its secrets. Issues that seem to be fundamentally important in an academic environment … Continue reading

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