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#DearFindLaw - Advice for New Lawyers and Law Students from @FindLawLP

Today's #DearFindLaw deals with 1L dilemmas. Now that you're getting the hang of law school, should you join or form one of these study groups everyone's talking about? And while you're at it, is it too early to think about this summer?

Are Study Groups Worth It?

Law school study groups will be forever memorialized in popular culture thanks to the smarmy, backstabbing students in "The Paper Chase" -- aka "The Only Movie About Law School, Other Than 'Legally Blonde.'"

In reality, even though there's not that much backstabbing going on at law school anymore, study groups do remain a viable method for learning the material, especially for people who learn better by talking than by listening.

Raise your hand if, at some point, you got slapped with a student loan bill for more than $1,000 per month.

If you haven't yet, and took out loans for law school, it's only a matter of time before some idiot loan servicer sends you a bill requesting more than half of your take-home pay. And for many people, their response will be to utter a few choice profanities and then to ignore the letter.

Don't. Default is bad, at least if you ever want to have a respectable credit score, own a home, or get out of debt. Instead, take a look at the available income-driven repayment plans. If you're working in public interest, your debt will disappear in 10 to 15 years. If not, you're looking at reduced payments until right around the time your child goes to college. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Last week, we talked about consolidating your loans to make them more manageable. Today, we'll look at reducing your monthly payments on your federal loans:

#DearFindLaw - Advice for New Lawyers and Law Students from @FindLawLP

Last week, I got a call from my big brother, a 1L at Louisiana State University. It seems that, while his laptop was sitting in the library, it overheated and fried the motherboard. Unfortunately, he didn't follow his little bro's advice and use cloud storage as a back-up.

He wants to know what to do, besides start listening to his brother. Here's how to get back to business, assuming you have a PC (Mac users ... just head to the nearest Genius Bar):

Previously, on "How To Get Away With Murder": Lots of murders, the least accurate depiction of law school ever, and sexy sexing for nearly everyone. See Episode 1 and Episode 2 recaps for more. Oh, and though it may be obvious: SPOILERS FOLLOW.

Episode 3 begins with more fun with the dead body (Prof. Annalise Keating's husband, Prof. Sam Keating), but mainly focuses on another case -- the hooker house mom who was once a domestic terrorist. If that (sans hooker) sounds like Patty Hearst, you and 300 fake 1Ls think alike, because they discuss the Hearst case and defense. This is your "defendant of the week" plotline, one that has no surprises whatsoever.

The real meat of the episode is WLW's (Wait-List Wes') possibly quixotic quest to help Goth Girl neighbor (Rebecca). The university is trying to get Keating's law firm to represent its star quarterback, who is quite obviously full of it and seems to have had something to do with the ongoing murder mystery (the dead girl from the first two episodes -- we know, there's a lot of murder in "HTGAWM"). WLW breaks the rules and does everything he can to rescue the reluctant Rebecca, but will he succeed?

#DearFindLaw - Advice for New Lawyers and Law Students from @FindLawLP

We're getting into the second month of law school, and 1Ls have learned how the Socratic method works, what their professors want to hear, and presumably how to study.

So does this mean that it's time to slough off and use case supplements -- especially those with convenient case summaries?

Is there any value in using case summaries? Or are there other study aids you should be using in your quest to be No. 1?

So, somebody sent me this earlier this week. I'm not sure how we missed this last year -- I try to never miss an opportunity to mock a "fix law school" or "reinvent law school" proposal -- but somehow, some way, it got lost in the stack.

Anyway, if you're interested in a four-year hybrid online-offline law school that costs the same as traditional law school, you have only a couple of months left to apply to the William Mitchell Hybrid Program. And while online legal education, as a means of delivering cost-effective degrees that can be obtained from anywhere (rural folks, twenty-somethings living with parents, military, etc.) is a good concept, there are a few reasons why this particular program may not be your best bet. Here are five you may want to consider:

If you haven't heard, Shonda Rhimes, the artist behind "Grey's Anatomy," "Private Practice," and "Scandal," just came out with a law school/legal defense drama: "How To Get Away With Murder." It was the most intrigiuing of our Fall TV/Legal Drama Preview.

It's 1L year. Professor Kingsfield Keating is teaching Criminal Law, or as she likes to call it, "How To Get Away With Murder"! And instead of sticking to the boring Socratic Method, she's going for experiential learning. The best of her 879 (estimated) students will get to work for her criminal defense firm. And, of course, there's a murder case for the first episode.

How does the show stack up in terms of 1L year, real-life law, and Hollywood screenwriting tricks? (Spoilers to follow. Also, some of this will only make sense if you watch the show.)

Should the American Bar Association drop its long-standing ban on academic credit for paid externships during law school? That was last week's "Room for Debate" topic over at The New York Times, with two people (a law student an an attorney) arguing in favor of lifting the ban, and one (a professor) arguing for the status quo.

If you're a long-time reader, you know how much I absolutely hate the idea of unpaid internships, though that's more an aversion to employers taking advantage of rising 2Ls and 3Ls who are desperate for resume filler by having them provide actual, valuable labor for free. But this is different: academic credit for an educational experience in a practical setting.

Let's take a look at the pros and cons, and see why lifting the ban is probably a bad idea.

#DearFindLaw - Advice for New Lawyers and Law Students from @FindLawLP

#DearFindLaw: It's like Dear Abby, but for masochists masquerading as legal scholars.

What are this week's topics? The first is all about revising your legal writing (especially in law school) using checklists. Also, a wise man in a warm, humid place wants to know what a "3-2-1" study schedule is.

Yesterday, Florida State University College of Law held a memorial service for the late Professor Dan Markel. In addition to teaching, Markel was a well-known legal blogger who founded the widely read PrawfsBlawg.

Markel, 41, was shot and killed in his garage in Tallahassee, Florida, on July 18. His murder remains unsolved.