Study Groups

It’s like this except with no smiling and everyone secretly resenting each other.

We’re just deep enough into the school year for law students to feel out their fellows and pop the question about forming a study group. And most law students will join some study group reflexively because it’s “just what you do.” But study groups aren’t so much about responsible preparation as much as an excuse to summon a perverse Voltron of collective neuroses. You’re probably going to end up with the same grade you’d have gotten if you studied on your own, but now you have a handful of other, possibly otherwise reasonable wrecks bombarding you with all the fears and insecurities you weren’t even thinking about.

The Paper Chase provided the gold standard of awful study groups. Backstabbing, withholding study aids, and a weird fascination with the word “pimp.”

At least until now….

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Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from the ATL Career Center’s team of expert contributors. Today, Alison Monahan looks at the pros and cons of joining a study group.

My first week of law school, I heard a rumor (which I’m pretty sure was true) that one of my classmates was forming a study group. Great, right? What’s not to like? However, this study group was special — you could only join if you’d gone to Harvard for undergrad!

After I finished cracking up (particularly since this story was conveyed to me by a Yale undergrad), I decided to stay away from study groups, if this is what they were about.

Was that a good decision? Maybe not….

Read more at the ATL Career Center…

* When it comes to medical marijuana prosecutions, the government is supposed to have “bigger fish to fry,” but it looks like even the Department of Justice couldn’t resist reeling in one last big catch. [New York Times]

* According to the results of this study, if you want to do well in law school, you should probably stop being so damn awkward, scale back your antisocial habits, and consider joining a study group. [National Law Journal]

* “[U]nder American law, anyone interesting is a felon.” This Columbia Law professor argues that the legal system failed Aaron Swartz because he was treated like a criminal instead of a deviant genius. [New Yorker]

* Porn stars in Los Angeles are challenging the constitutionality of being forced to wear condoms during filming — because the transfer of STDs is “constitutionally protected expression.” [Courthouse News Service]

* So, it looks like Lindsay Lohan fired her best gal pal in the world: her lawyer. But sometimes you have to fire people when you allegedly owe them oodles of money to the tune of $300K and you don’t have any. [Daily Mail]


Law students, we know that finals time is rough, because we’ve all been there. Sometimes getting together with a study group is a great way to take the edge off (not to mention a great way to “suceed” with friends). Amid the excitement of the fall 2011 bonus season, these kids are buckling down and studying their tails off, in the hopes of some day getting a dime of what Biglaw associates are currently complaining about.

And like good little scouts, these law students are prepared. Okay, maybe some of them are a little bit too prepared. When your classmates email us to let us know that they hate studying at the law school because of you, maybe you need to give it a rest….

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Gun hard!

Last week, we told you about some law students who were holding tryouts — and charging a $20 application fee — to fill the final two spots in their study group.

The students in the group were roundly mocked. Charging an application fee made demanding an undergraduate transcript from applicants pale by comparison.

Now, if the school had been a place like UVA Law, the student body would have gotten defensive and lashed out about how the study group post “didn’t tell the full story.” They’d whine about how the study groupers didn’t “represent” the student body. They’d claim that ATL “planted” the poster, because we “had it in” for the school.

But some students at the Georgia State University College of Law didn’t feel the need to defend their school or the silly students in the study group. They realized that nobody would impute the toolish behavior of a few 1Ls to an entire institution.

Instead, they chose to have a bit of fun with it. Confidence and a sense of humor are beautiful things….

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