The Incompetent Boss

How do you handle an incompetent boss? Reader C wonders…

Corporette is my top go to blog for advice on anything career related.  I haven’t found much on dealing with an incompetent boss though.  Could you consider doing a post on how to handle a thoroughly incompetent boss? It’s almost worse than incompetent – she actually does some level of harm whenever she is involved in a meeting, on a project, etc.  (As a bonus which you may or may not want to tackle – she has 0 social intelligence, micromanages and is a chatty Kathy all wrapped into one.)

She sounds delightful!  We have talked about how to handle a chatty boss, as well as how to handle a micromanager boss, but let’s talk about the incompetent boss.

First: Figure out if this is a personality conflict between you and her.  For example, does she horde work she should have /could have given to you, and then get overwhelmed and ask you for help with it at the very last minute out of desperation?  This may stem from her lack of trust in you  — she may not want to delegate your work to you because she doesn’t trust you, so she takes on too much and has to ask you for help out of desperation at the very last minute… in which case you need to build up her trust so you can get the work done.  A few more ideas:

– Understand your boss’s strengths and weaknesses.  It’s rare for someone to be promoted who has absolutely no skills — she may be awesome at X and Y, but suck at Z.  If you know this, it helps, both to reset your interactions with her (she’s not a moron, she just sucks at Z) and to reset your expectations (of course this part of the project is going to be a bit bumpy, because she sucks at Z!).  Meanwhile, you can lower your guard when dealing with her with X and Y.  On the converse — it may not be that she sucks at Z at all, but she’s crazed right now because she’s having problems beyond you, such as with her boss, with another employee, or in her personal life.  Whatever it is, it helps to narrow your focus (either to Z or to “until this trouble passes”).

– Figure out what you need from your boss, and communicate that to her in a way that she will understand.  Do you need feedback?  Better deadlines?  More communication throughout the project?  You can sit and moan all you like that she doesn’t naturally give you that stuff, but you can also take a more proactive stance and GET the things you need from her.  For example, if you need more feedback — make it a point of scheduling meetings to drag the feedback out of her when you need it.  If you need more advance notice for projects, ask her at the beginning of the week what she has for you. I once had a boss who wasn’t great at telling me what she thought were my job priorities — I would spend weeks on a project to find out that she had thought something else was higher priority.  It wasn’t that she was incompetent, but there was a disconnect between us.  I wound up scheduling a monthly meeting with her to go over my tasks, and that helped us get on the right track.

– Start a log.  Sometimes, it helps to keep a written record for yourself of what things are going wrong.  Write down dates, the actions you took, the actions she took, and the result.  Write down who else was involved… maybe even go so far as to print out a few emails and start a folder.  This way, if your own work is ever called into question, you can easily defend yourself.

Readers, have you had to deal with an incompetent boss?  How did you manage?


  1. …..or sometimes bosses get to where they are because they used to date the owner of the company. True story. I had a boss who was a slacker (the latest I ever saw him in the office was 4:00 PM), had poor time management skills (waited until the last minute for everything), did not understand the technical nuances of the nature of our work, was a micromanager, and berated employees for small errors (like typos) that were caught during the internal review process.

    Seriously, the office ran best when he was out on vacation. His involvement in any project caused it to be over-budget and late. We tried desperately to limit his involvement. It was awful. Luckily, I no longer work there.

    • Or they are the bosses child, grandchild, niece, nephew, cousin, whatever who never had another job in their life and has no people skills. I know quite a few small companies with that dynamic.

      • Or they’re just promoted because their bosses don’t find them professionally threatening.

  2. Sometimes the best coping mechanism is to keep a polished resume and send it out every now and then to keep the hope alive for a better life.

  3. My husband worked for someone like this. While it is uncommon for someone totally incompetent to move up, this person allowed the company to check off two boxes on some EEOC quota form, so up and up they went…

    The first thing my husband did was confirm that other people shared that opinion. Go to your coworkers and ask, “is it just me, or is Boss way off base here?” Their responses may help you determine if it’s a personality problem, or a field-of-expertise problem, or if the person really is a dolt. If your co-worker in accounting thinks the boss is great but the co-worker in creative thinks the boss is an idiot, the boss may just be more of a numbers person. In my husband’s situation, the universal opinion was that the boss was an idiot. It didn’t change the situation, but at least he could say “it’s NOT just me,” and hear about strategies to work around the boss.

    The next thing was to form a relationship with the boss’s boss. That gave him some comfort that the higher-ups knew he was doing good work and was being hindered by his supervisor (it’s also just good practice for career advancement!). It also allowed him to start cc’ing the boss’s boss on correspondence without it being awkward — like, “attached is my draft. I am copying superboss because expressed interest in the project.”

    But at the end of the day, there’s no good answer. Husband left that job after a year.

    • I think this is good advice. Don’t bash the person in question, but figure out as neutral a way as possible to check your assessments of the person against other peoples’ so you can get a better sense of whether it’s you or them (or a combination of the two).

  4. No Problem :

    Does your company or organization allow direct reports to submit a review of their managers during their annual performance review? If so, do it. If not, you need to talk to your boss’ boss to ensure that your feedback gets into her review somehow. Part of the role of being a manager is actually managing things, and if she’s not doing it well or at all from your perspective, senior management needs to know. I agree with Kat’s suggestion to keep a log. You can bring copies of emails or other correspondence to your boss’ boss to corroborate your comments.

  5. I currently work for a boss like this. That’s the thing about working for the Government, you come for the job security, but then quickly realize that all the people that should be fired have that security, too. If you’re in this situation, the first thing you should do is try to get out. At some point, what she does will reflect poorly on you (ex. she didn’t give you the information you needed to do the job correctly, but your name is still on the report), and you don’t want to be grouped in with someone like this in the eyes of the rest of your organization. I’m starting a new position internally in a month. In the mean time, I’m surviving because I’ve built a relationship with her. I’ve resisted the urge to act annoyed with her and still show respect. I generally try to remain pleasant and friendly with her. She’s laid off on the micro-managing enough that she doesn’t mess things up as much as she used to. I’ve also discovered who around me does know their stuff, so I know who to turn to for questions if I have them.

    That’s how I’ve gotten by, but really getting out is the key. You need a boss you can learn and grow under. No one’s perfect, and there will always be issues to work around. But you can’t really succeed under someone like that.

    • Anastasia :

      I hate to feed into this Government stereotype, but I also worked for a boss like this in my last job. (There’s hope, though! I’m still in Government, and everyone in my current supervisory chain is all kinds of smart and wonderful).

      I basically lived The Office for a couple years. Eyerolling at the boss was a great bonding experience with my fellow competent peers. The boss really meant well and I like him as a person, and we have shared hobbies so I run into him from time to time. But it was apparent that he was going nowhere and everyone under him was going nowhere with him, unless they took drastic measures to do Good Things outside of his direct control to get noticed. We volunteered for special task forces, deployments, rotations as liaison to other agencies or offices… anything to get us out of his chain of command and into a position that was taken a little more seriously by the rest of our field. All of us have moved on to other jobs and are much happier (and we all have a great network across multiple government agencies, since we remain good friends). I’m pretty sure that’s the only *real* solution.

      I agree with Kat’s advice about keeping a paper trail. Start with having e-mails for everything. One of my incompetent boss’s biggest problems was that he couldn’t prioritize — he would just pile on things to do and then change his mind about which he wanted done first. Sending e-mails saying “Boss, here are the things I’m working on, in this order, and the deadlines I’m aware of for each of them. Are there any changes to this information?” might help you manage the manager a little, and also CYA.

    • Anon for this :

      I have one of these bosses, too. And the person immediately above her is pretty ineffectual and is only in the office 3 days a week, if that (he lives in another state and works remotely). She is horrible with boundaries and has been reprimanded for what could be seen as inappropriate fraternization, but still keeps her position and gets to keep hiring more employees.

      The day I found out it wasn’t just me, that she was weird and micro-managey with everyone was a great day. I could stop wasting energy trying to figure out what I was doing wrong all the time and just do my work the best I could. I’m in my 40s and have actually worked at worse places – at least here (fed agency), there are options, as someone else mentioned, getting involved with other groups, details, etc. But it is depressing to think that the person with the most influence on your career (at least at this point in time) really has no interest in helping you be the best you can be and advance in your career.

      • Original Poster :

        Thanks for all of the feedback everyone – you got it right when you guessed I worked for the government. It took her 23 years to get promoted, but in government, it is possible to be promoted without having any good quality. I’ve already confirmed that everyone else feels the same way I do about her, and I already cc the big boss on most everything I send her. I’ve also spoken with the big boss, and requested a change in my reporting chain, but the big boss, unfortunately, is highly risk averse and has no spine (another symptom of a long career in government, unfortunately). The next avenue I am pursuing is HR, to see what my options are. I agree that if nothing else, it has definitely been a bonding experience for me and my coworkers!

        She unfortunately really doesn’t have any positive sides – like I said, she’s incompetent, unpleasant and disliked by most who have met her, not to mention totally deficient in social skills/self-awareness. Sounds like I should follow the advice of many of you, and look for another job, either internally or out.

  6. Anonymous :

    My immediate supervisor literally made me sick to my stomach. After a few years, I think I showed that I have value to the big boss. For reasons unknown, big boss allows this incompetent male-chauvinist to make others miserable. At some point, I just pushed back without caring about the consequences. I still do my job, but I say “no” and call him on his passive-aggressive and snide comments. The biggest problem was the last-minute project dump. He would refuse to talk about briefs or hearings and would say that we have time and that he will take care of such and such. Then a week before a brief would come due, he would have something come up and then tell me to do it all. I learned to take on assignments myself well in advance and stick to it. For example, I will send an email six weeks before the due date: “I will draft the facts and Arg. II of the brief and have it to you by ____. I have a brief due on another case so I won’t be able to help you get it out the day before it is due.” He doesn’t like it when I make the decisions but I DON’T CARE!

  7. karenpadi :

    I agree with polishing up the resume and leaving asap. No amount of money is worth a bad boss.

    In the meantime, figure out what the boss’s red flags are. Is it typos? Not using the right sign-off in an email? Using a certain word in a brief? Avoid those.

    Commiserate with co-workers. One of my best professional networks is a number of us who all worked together under a guy who was Michael Scott from The Office. We’ve all moved on and I now have a great network of former colleagues.

  8. Attornista :

    Threadjack. . .need your sage advice: A few months ago, a very close girlfriend of mine confessed to me that she was having a very intense emotional affair with a male colleague at her work. The affair quickly progressed to a physical level. They are both married and she has a young child. Recently, her colleague has been trying to break it off (against my friend’s wishes), but they seem to always reunite. She is mooning like a teenager over him and wanting to talk to me about it all the time. I am finding this awkward on a number of levels: (1) I find what she is doing totally wrong; (2) I care about her and want to give her emotional support; (3) I am friendly with her husband, who is a really nice guy, and feel overwhelmed with guilt when I am around him; and (4) I feel gross hiding this whole thing from my husband, with whom I am usually very open.

    My basic strategy has been to listen to her, reiterate that I care about her and don’t want to see her get hurt, that this guy does not sound very good for her, and that IMHO the best course would be to end things with the affair guy. I’ve also suggested she get counseling, which she says she can’t afford right now and/or her husband would refuse to participate in.

    My question is, does anyone have any better ideas how to handle this? I am really concerned for her and feel in over my head. Thanks!

    • Drive home to her what she has to lose. That young child would be heartbroken and may resent her forever if the affair leads to a destruction of her current marriage. It sounds like she isn’t thinking clearly. You’re a great friend to be so supportive.

      • Attornista :

        Thanks, COS. I’ve definitely tried to play the “think of your daughter” card. It does not seem to penetrate. I really think she is in a weird mental space right now, where it is difficult to listen to reason.

        • I think a lot of people having an affair are in a “weird mental place” – they downplay the downside and odds of being caught and focus only on the emotional and physical high. Perhaps ask her what she really wants to get out of this. If she truly wants to leave her husband, help her with that. But don’t allow her to think its okay to keep him and be unfaithful…that’s wrong in so many ways. Is she really that kind of a person, or simply caught up in this. I agree with the others that you don’t deserve this. She needs some tough love.
          I’m going to read Mousekeeper’s book; sounds good!

          • Attornista :

            I don’t think she is a bad person; however, I think her selfishness in this particular situation is profound. Beyond that, she seems to have virtually no feelings of guilt about this or awareness of the bad places this is really leading. I think this guy is just really flattering to her and, like many people I suppose, she’s just been swept up in the excitement of the moment. Instead of focusing on how to extract herself from the situation, she just wants to dissect the affair guy’s thoughts and motivations, so she can confirm to herself how deeply he truly cares for her (depite much evidence to the contrary). Yuck.

      • Mousekeeper :

        Suggest that she read “Testimony” by Anita Shreve. It’s a novel set at a New England boarding school. Although it’s not the main point of the novel, an important element of the novel is the repercussions of a wife’s affair.

    • Don’t listen to her. Stop. You are understandably not comfortable with the situation – communicate that to her and declare the issue a no-go zone. She’s putting you in a very not cool position. Her actions have repercussions and you can show that to her easily, by not being there for her when she moons about this guy.

      • This. This x 100. Tell her what you said here. You think what she’s doing is wrong. You like her husband and feel guilty now when you’re around him. You’re worried about her, and about her daughter. And she’s interfering with your marriage because you’ve closed off part of your mind to your husband (I know I can’t keep a single secret from mine — it’s like a physical door I’ve shut in his face). Tell her you’re not going to participate in this anymore. You’ll help her if she wants to seek counseling or do something else to fix her marriage, but you won’t listen to anything else about this guy.

    • Praxidike :

      I think that by talking to her, you’re enabling her in some fashion. When an affair is new and shiny, it’s about the same as when you’re first dating someone and you’re infatuated with them: you want to talk about that person all the time and it’s all you can think about. Of course, this is difficult because she is having an affair and she can’t be open about it with everyone because it is, by its nature, a secret thing. So when you talk to her about it, even though you’re disapproving, you’re giving her an outlet to express her emotions and feelings about this guy.

      Now, if she was coming to you saying, “I am so conflicted and guilty about this because I don’t want to ruin my marriage/life,” then I would say – go ahead and talk to her. But nothing you’re going to say is going to change her behavior, probably.

      I don’t know if you ever had this experience but: remember when we were all in college, and a friend was dating some guy or girl who was a complete jerk, but the friend just didn’t see it for whatever reason? And no one said anything to the friend because you didn’t want to lose that person as a friend; everyone just silently hoped that the friend would eventually notice that the person was a jerk and end the relationship. And no one said anything because everyone knew that the friend would just blow it off, “Oh, you just don’t know him/her very well; s/he is a wonderful person!”

      I speculate that that’s what’s happening here: even though you’re disapproving of her actions, she’s not really hearing or internalizing your message because she’s in denial or she’s too blind to see it. Anyway, this is my armchair psychologist analysis, having been on both sides of the fence on this issue (cheated on my serious college boyfriend; listened to a friend discuss her extra-marital affair with me). Good luck.

      • Attornista :

        Thank you, Prax. I appreciate the insight, and I indeed worry that I am enabling. On the other hand, she has been such a good friend to me over the years, I struggle with the thought of cutting her off over this. Perhaps it would lead to even more destructive decisionmaking. Who knows? I just regret the day that I ever got sucked into this vortex and really wish she would see the error of her ways.

        • Praxidike :

          I am having a hard time imagining how she doesn’t feel at least a twinge of guilt over what she’s doing. And if she doesn’t, then what’s her relationship with her spouse like, anyway? Is she in therapy? Are they in therapy as a couple? I think infidelity is always tied to some deeper issue in the relationship, whether it’s something as innocuous as boredom (“I miss the zing of a new relationship!”) or something as destructive as malice (“I don’t love him anymore, and I don’t care if I hurt him.”).

          One thing you could do is encourage her to go speak with a professional. She might put more weight into their words, if she’s willing to go.

          I feel for you, though, especially because you’re friends with the spouse. Next time she confides in you, you can gently say, “Look, [friend], I like you and your husband a lot. I consider him a friend. I don’t want to listen to anything about your affair anymore because I feel [bad, guilty, whatever] because I now have to keep secrets from a friend and from my husband, and I don’t want to do that.” Maybe she’ll understand your perspective, maybe not, but at least you’ll have told her the truth.

    • dancinglonghorn :

      You need to stop trying to think that you can talk her out of the affair. You just can’t. No matter how practical, convincing, compelling, eloquent or supportive you are, she just won’t stop having the affair until she’s ready to. So don’t try to have an opinion about it on any level.

      Its totally appropriate for you to state that you do not want to hear about the affair. When she starts to talk about it, warn her once, if she continues, hang up the phone or leave the room. You will be willing to talk to her about her emotional state, her marriage, all other aspects just not the ones you are uncomfortable with.

      Also, I think its reasonable to talk to your spouse about this. Tell your friend that you need to share this with your spouse. Frankly, its not middle school and you don’t need to pinkie-swear – This affair will have ramifications for your marriage in terms of its hard watching a friends marriage have difficulty and you deserve to talk to your spouse about these issues.

      I’ve been in this situation before – in case you can’t tell!

  9. Girls Weekend TJ – I am extremely fortunate to have several girlfriends who love to go on weekend girls trips. My hubby is happy I have such good girlfriends but he is often bummed out (but not possessive) when I leave him for the weekends to spend w my girls at the beach or extending work trips to stay and visit friends. I have two dear friends who live out of town and are planning a beach trip in a few weeks and invited me to come. However, my hubby and I are planning a vacation later this summer, and I don’t want to spend money to go to the beach and deplete the vacation fund, and I don’t want to leave my hubby for a long weekend again, but I am also dying to see my girlfriends and would love a weekend at the beach. I’m not sure what to do – I know hubby would support me if I went and I totally don’t want to be that girl who can’t do things without her man. Anyone else in a similar situation?

    • HereThere :

      Would it be possible for you to go see them? (In other words, is it near your home, so you could perhaps drive up and see them for the day instead of staying overnight and going out a lot?)

      • That’s a good point. It’s about 3 hours away. I could go for one night instead of the whole trip.

    • I think HereThere has a good suggestion to go up to see them for the day or just one night. Maybe you suggest grilling at the beach vs. fancy dinner out, or making your own cocktails and chatting all night instead of going out dancing/drinking at expensive bars. I totally understand wanting to see your girlfriends, but I know I would be annoyed if my husband picked guys’ weekend “over” our vacation, ie: spending money out with the guys and then denying us activities/dinners/whatever on our trip. I think there’s a way to hang out with the girls without spending a ton of money. If these friends are really close to you, surely they’ll understand your dilemma and be willing to compromise on the cost?

    • Ack! Moderation for a c-word

      I think HereThere has a good suggestion to go up to see them for the day or just one night. Maybe you suggest grilling at the beach vs. fancy dinner out, or making your own c-cktai1s and chatting all night instead of going out dancing/drinking at expensive bars. I totally understand wanting to see your girlfriends, but I know I would be annoyed if my husband picked guys’ weekend “over” our vacation, ie: spending money out with the guys and then denying us activities/dinners/whatever on our trip. I think there’s a way to hang out with the girls without spending a ton of money. If these friends are really close to you, surely they’ll understand your dilemma and be willing to compromise on the cost?

      Read more:

  10. LV lawyer recommendation :

    Can anyone recommend a lawyer or law firm in las vegas to deal with a timeshare condo issue?

  11. BU Law To Be :

    TJ for lawyers and law students (sorry to the rest)

    Any suggestions of where to cheaply get supplementary materials (E&Es, maybe Aspen, perhaps LEEWS, Emanuels) for 1L? I’m trying to get them now, which should be cheaper than September and will give me a chance to look through them (briefly, promise I’m not studying intensely or making outlines/taking notes or anything). I’ve looked at amazon, half, and craigslist. I’ve found stuff on amazon, but that’s it. I just am not sure if there is somewhere I’m missing entirely. I’d also be fine going to a store in Boston that tends to be cheaper, but I doubt that exists. :)

    Any suggestions on which to get are also welcome, since I trust you lovely ladies more than the random blawgs or 0L books (even if I read more than post).

    • I was a HUGE flash card devotee. But I know not everyone is (Mr. TBK hated them). E&E can also be good. Also, when you get to school, see if your library keeps old exams on file and see if any student groups have old student outlines available. Those can also be helpful (and free!).

    • Do you know anyone in law school or who graduated recently? I got most of my E&Es from friend who didn’t need them anymore. I also got a few on Amazon; used ones from independent sellers should be pretty cheap.

      • BU Law To Be :

        Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone to get them from – I wish I did!

        Glad that amazon seems cheap for them. Amazon seems lower than half or other such sites I’ve checked. Time to start ordering and getting packages!

    • Congrats on BU Law! I went there for undergrad and loved every minute of it! If you are not from Boston be sure to take time to explore the area during your much needed study breaks.

      • BU Law To Be :

        Thanks! I’m excited to start at BU Law. I went to another Boston school for undergrad, but I feel like there is so much more of the city to explore for me. Any suggestions around BU? I know there is a ton of stuff I haven’t done here yet.

        • Landsdowne street near Fenway park has decent bars and nightlife activities. I recommend walking the Freedom trail, exploring the Northend, ice-skating on the Frog Pond and renting kayaks along the Charles River. If you are interested in museums, be sure to stop by the BU student union to see if they have any discounted tickets.

          Also, the BU Bus is always late…(you will soon understand).

        • My brother graduated from BU Law! Congrats. It was 2004 (yikes, hard to imagine it has been so long) But he loved it and was super happy.

    • I bought a lot of my supplements used at the school bookstores, but also on Amazon, eBay, and half[dot]com (if that’s still around), too.

      Re: which ones to get – I think this depends on your learning style and on your professor. E&E ended up being best for Contracts for me, but then I swore by Chemerinsky for Con Law. It was helpful for me to actually go into a bookstore and compare the different options side by side. And some of the books are keyed to your casebook, so that may be another reason to hold off.

    • I loved the Emanuel’s Crunchtime series, personally. I usually got them on Amazon for very cheap (half the list price, mostly new). Our LWA also did a supplement drive as a fundraiser, where people would donate their used supplements, and then LWA sold them (cheap) in the lawschool lobby to raise money for its activities and the local women’s shelter. Anything like that at your school? You probably could email someone in administration and find out…

    • That reminds me…I need to put the LEEWS I bought on Ebay, back up on Ebay to sell.

      I bought all the books I used for law school (supplement wise) from Ebay.

      I highly recommend “Acing Civil Procedure”
      I used it and I got a very good grade.

      Others were not as helpful to me, but I had terrible ADD during law school, and had a hard enough time just reading the required cases.

    • E&E for Contracts and Torts
      I don’t know a good supp for Crim – my prof was weird. The Crim E&E is terrible though.
      Glannon Guide to Civ Pro
      Acing Property
      Chemerinsky for Con Law

      I’ve had good luck with independent sellers on Amazon.

      • Also, the one thing I would recommend as 0L prep is Getting to Maybe. It may seem obvious to some, but it really helped me frame my prep for exams early in the semester.

        • Summer before law school I read “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren. People told me that was helpful.

    • As excited as you are, I would wait. Some materials may be keyed to a course text, which can be helpful. Some are just better for some professors than others – for instance my tax class had a multiple choice test, so I studied with a multiple choice supplement. Some 2L recommended some to us based on our professors – “This prof is great at showing you x, but you’ll need a supplement that teaches you y.” With some professors you may just be hurting yourself if you use them – my contracts prof marked me down on my exam for giving an answer that my supplement told me was correct. I would wait and see what you actually need help with before buying a bunch of books. There’s time.

      • Oh, there’s also the possibility that if you wait some 2Ls will be selling theirs during orientation or that the SBA will have a used book sale.

      • Completely agreed :

        I graduated from BU Law in the last couple of years, and I’d second the recommendation to wait, for two reasons. First, many 1L professors have hornbooks they prefer/think are better suited to their teaching style. Second, BU will assign you a 2L or 3L mentor, who will almost certainly be on a journal or friends with people who are. Many of the journals have outline banks that contain well-organized, professor-specific outlines. Most of the time, those are better than hornbooks, in my opinion.

        • Completely agreed :

          Oh, also, I thought a good book to read at the beginning of law school was The Legal Analyst. It’s written by Farnsworth, who use to teach Civ Pro at BU, and it has good strategies for how to think about the law.

      • mintberrycrunch :

        Not from BU, but I would also recommend waiting. I bought a bunch of supplements from a friend who’d recently graduated before starting 1L, and I only used one or two of them. I ended up buying different ones that fit better with my learning style (which I thought I knew prior to starting, but I didn’t – law school is just different than UG).

        Also, buy everything used. I wasted so much money first semester b/c I thought I needed new books. No.

      • Third this. I didn’t buy anything before school, but I barely used any of the supplements I bought near the beginning. Total waste of money for me. I found they didn’t help my learning style at all and sometimes just added to my stress by adding issues that my prof didn’t particularly care about.

    • I LOVED my flashcards. Cheesy, yes, but I thrive on quiz-style studying. E&E’s are good, too, and Crunchtime is great for concise overviews. I bought them retail, but I loaned them out a lot after my first year (but got them back in time to study for the bar!)– try asking around any 2Ls and 3Ls you may know. This may work better once you’re already in school, though, which brings up another point — really, I’d suggest not worrying about it until school starts. You’ll be spending lots of time studying law stuff for the next three years, with very little in the way of summer break. Getting a head start is great, but if you start reviewing these materials after the semester starts you’ll still be way ahead of the game and you’ll know better what your professors will be covering/expecting. Enjoy your last law-free summer! :)

      • this. enjoy the summer, start studying for law school when the first assignments are posted.

    • A fellow classmate recommended, which compares lots of different book sites – and is really great for finding used textbooks at less than full price as well.

    • Others have mentioned amazon which is great. You can also resell there usually, so you can make back a lot of money on supps and case books.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      You may want to consider waiting. I gathered quite a few supplements from outgoing 3Ls before I started school, but I used maybe 20% of them. You have to find out how you’re going to learn the best first (outlining, flash cards, etc.). I know this seems almost impossible to you right now, but slow down. Take it one day at a time and you’ll do fine.

    • Don’t waste your money on study aids until you actually get a feel for the classes in which you will need them. Prices will not vary substantially between summer and school year. I bought the E&E’s for every single 1L class and only used ConLaw (several of my friends also swore by Chemerinsky, since he edited our casebook). The only one I’d recommend before you get there is Reading Like A Lawyer by Ruth Ann McKinney, since it will help you with your casebook reading. That being said, E&E’s are good; my law school does a semester-end used supplement sale, BU might as well, and Amazon prices will probably be as good as you’re going to get.

  12. I absolute agree with Kat’s advice about understanding your boss’s strengths and weaknesses. My supervising partner is great at X and Y, but wouldn’t know what to do with Z if I drew him a map. During the course of our time together I got really good at Z. He’s aware that he’s bad at Z and sees how good I am at it, and we’ve finally gotten to a point where he recognizes he needs me. I go to him for help with X and Y and he comes to me for Z. This is how you make yourself invaluable to a firm.

  13. Pftooey!

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