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The day Robert Miller started law school, he couldn’t name more than three of the sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices. Like many legal neophytes, Miller stumbled upon a world for which he perhaps wasn’t prepared. He looked around for a good, all-purpose guide to navigating law school, but his local bookstore didn’t have much to offer. “I’m a big reader,” he says. “I read everything that was out there. There was a lot of stuff written by professors who are 10 years removed but aren’t plugged in. So what you get are these nostalgia trips from professors,” but not a lot of practical advice. And after finishing his first year, he still had a laundry list of questions. So he decided to take what he had learned as a first-year law student and enlist nine of his fellow first-year survivors to help him write a manual for future J.D. seekers. Billed as “the complete guide to the law school experience,” “Law School Confidential” (St. Martin’s Press) offers future attorneys a glimpse into a three-year experience they may have only seen in movies. Miller and his crew are set on peeling away the myths of “The Paper Chase” and replacing them with some cold, hard facts: Law school ain’t easy, and not everyone makes it. And those who do commit and get their degree may not want to be lawyers when they finish school. Often, they find they can’t afford to practice the kind of law they had envisioned, and many (including some of the book’s participants) are saddled with more than $100,000 worth of student loan debt. With its lengthy chapters on combatting the LSAT, note-sharing etiquette, year-to-year personal checklists, law review pitfalls and triumphs, and tips on beating the summer associate/clerkship lotteries, the book sometimes paints a grim picture of what to expect on the road to becoming a successful lawyer. Some of the advice you’ve heard a million times before: Budget your time well; never discuss grades; make sure you bring extra pencils to your exams, etc. But buried beneath the cover are some tips on case briefing and an introduction to the typical first-year curriculum. The gang-of-nine has also developed a mathematical formula — dubbed “relevance calculus” — to use when contemplating initial job offers. Miller, 28, a 1998 University of Pennsylvania Law School grad, is now an associate at Manchester, N.H.’s Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green. The book, he says, is designed to help students avoid some of the frustrations he felt after finishing his first year. “I was frustrated by being reactive instead of proactive, not knowing what to expect,” Miller says. Caveat emptor: Of the nine confidants who lend their advice for “Law School Confidential,” two of them aren’t sure if, given the chance, they would attend law school again, and one definitely would not. That’s enough to convict in some courts.

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