#barpreplife: Online vs. Live Classes, and My (Tentative) Schedule

GUEST BLOG by Harrison Thorne,
Graduate of  UCLA Law

I signed up for BARBRI’s live lecture, and planned on going to the lectures every day.

However, after some introspection, I realized that I do my best work first thing in the morning. I like to wake up around 6:00, take my dog out, shower, and get to work. I could be listening to the lecture by approximately 6:45 am every day, and finish it up around 9:45-10:00. This is more appealing for me than waiting until 9:00 to begin the live lecture.

There are downsides to not attending the live lectures, though.

These include: being at home too much, not being accountable to anybody, not interacting with people, and not mixing up study environment. However, I believe that for me, the benefits of starting early and at my own pace outweigh these negatives. Nonetheless, everything is conjecture at this point, as I have yet to study for the Bar Exam. If online lectures do not work out, I will go to the live lectures. I believe the key is to (a) know yourself and what works, and (b) remain adaptable and willing to change when things are not working.

My tentative schedule will include lots of study time, but also daily free time. At least in the beginning, I believe it will be important to maintain the activities I enjoy. I likely worked 40-70 hours per week in law school, but I was driving to and from school, meeting professors, walking around campus, etc. The Bar, on the other hand, will entail studying in one room all summer. There are far fewer “changes” of scenery to help with boredom.  Thus, I believe it will be important to have something to look forward to daily.  Therefore, I will include fun activities at the end of my day, every day.

Monday-Friday:

  • 6:00: wake up
  • 6:45: begin lecture
  • 10:00: finish lecture
  • 10:00-11:30: study
  • 11:30-12:30: lunch break (eat, walk dog, etc)
  • 12:30-5:30/6:00: study
  • 6:00-10:00: free time

Saturday & Sunday:

  • Same, but I will either begin studying 1.5 hours later, or end 1.5 hours earlier

I plan on stopping work by no later than 6:00 pm every day. That way, I have time to go to the gym, hang out with my friends/family/girlfriend, go to movies, and anything else I might want to do. I will revise this schedule as needed, but I believe that this is enough time, daily, to learn what I need to learn.

#barpreplife: Preparing to Prepare for the Bar Exam

GUEST BLOG by Harrison Thorne,
Graduate of  UCLA Law

Before taking the Bar Exam, I want to make sure my house is in order.

To do so, I am making sure that all of my tasks are completed, my house is clean, and that I have a plan for taking care of my dog.  Luckily, I have an amazing girlfriend to help out along the way, but nonetheless, I want to get everything done ahead of time, so I can dedicate all my energy to the Bar.

Here is a checklist I came up with for myself, but most of these things can be modified for you.

  1. Make sure my computer is working
  2. Get a printer, load up on paper
  3. Make sure finances are taken care of
  4. Make a Schedule
    1. I have created a schedule with daily “free-time” tasks, including time with friends and family, gym, etc. I will modify if needed, but I wanted to schedule these things in.
  5. Let my family know I will be less reachable – especially during the day
  6. Get my car maintenance done (oil change)
  7. Stock up on non-perishable groceries
  8. Have fun the week before the Bar Prep course begins

I believe that a bit of prep now will save a lot of time and stress once Barbri’s prep course begins.  I’m going to knock all these items off my list, and then have some downtime, before diving headfirst into Bar Prep!

#The1Llife: NARROWING YOUR LIS[Z]T, PART II

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
1L at UCLA School of Law

NARROWING YOUR LIS[Z]T, PART II (Hungarian Rhapsody No.2)

This is a continuation of my last post, trying to help 0Ls decide which law school to attend!

  1. Programs: I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but if you know what type of law you want to go in to, look for law schools with that program. I’m not talking about one sentence on their webpage that says they’re committed to Public Interest. I’m talking about a demonstrated commitment to the area of the law you want to practice. Ask the students you talked to because you read my last post what the school’s actual commitment is. Follow the law school on Twitter. I only applied to four schools and after I nixed one of them because of location (i.e., not in California), I started comparing their Twitter feeds. While all three schools purported to place a heavy emphasis on Public Interest Law, one of them never tweeted about it, only tweeting big law and intellectual property-related material. That told me a lot about the programming they were hosting and what they valued when showing their wares.
  2. After Graduation: I want to stay in Los Angeles and practice law here when I graduate. As such, every connection I make is a potential employer or resource, which makes the value of my networking feel much greater. It also makes learning the California Civil Code in some classes way more useful. However, I have some classmates who came to UCLA knowing that they are going to return to another state. For most of them, it was for the programs UCLA offers that aren’t available at the schools in the state where they want to practice. I don’t have advice on which one is better, except to suggest that you take it into account when making your decision.
  3. Other Priorities: Do you want to get a dual degree? What about taking other classes offered outside of the law school? Do you want to leave the door open to moving later, and thus care more about going to a “national” school as opposed to one that’s known regionally? Are there particular faculty members you want to work with? Do you want to study abroad? The more nuanced the item on your list, harder you may need to look for it. Law schools can differ greatly in their offerings, so don’t just assume that every school will have what you want.

If you have any more questions, please tweet me @The1Llife! I would be happy to talk to you about your decision. Congratulations, and good luck!