Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: highball on August 28, 2004, 11:32:19 PM

Title: Am I studying enough?
Post by: highball on August 28, 2004, 11:32:19 PM
So,
All I do is write down the outline headings for my reading, skim the books and jot a note or two, and then copy the casebriefs from Legalines into my notes so I'll be ok for class.  That's like an hour tops for each class.  Essentially, I'm studying 1 to 2 hours a night depending on what's on the following day schedule.  I feel pretty comfortable being able to apply the blackletter so far in the scenerios that are brought up in class.  We've had one quiz and I'm in the top 5% of my class by the score.  I realize that counts for nothing in the big picture, but it's the only reference point I have so far 2 weeks in.  I also think that the additional time I have is another reason why I'm doing better than my peers in our legal writing class.

Question:  Is utilizing Legalines for the cases + class notes enough in terms of covering the necessary blackletter that you might need on hand as a reference for a final exam?  i just don't want to spend the semester aceing these quizes (25% of our grade 2 of the 3 classes) and then all of a sudden finding myself short of information on a closed book, outline only final.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: lawgirl on August 29, 2004, 06:45:12 AM
No
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: jeffjoe on August 29, 2004, 11:29:32 AM
Do you understand the law involved in each case after you've done this?

If you do, you're brilliant.  I'm spending a lot more time on each case than that.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: highball on August 29, 2004, 11:51:00 AM
Do you understand the law involved in each case after you've done this?

If you do, you're brilliant.  I'm spending a lot more time on each case than that.

As far as I know, yes.  I mean, I feel like I do, and after that quiz I had the #4 score out of 67 in our class, so apparantly I'm answering the questions right I suppose.  I'll see how that end of things holds up.  I guess I mostly want to know is if cases + class notes is pretty much it.  There seems to be a ton of unnecessary reading to get to the cases in each book, which I just gloss over.  I see everyone in else coming in with all that stuff in pages of notes.  And then in class they're all like secretaries banging away on their keyboards like total freaks.

I'm just trying to ascertain if the cases + taking notes on what the professor says in class is pretty much going to cover typically would be on an exam.

Like, when you say it's taking you several hours to 'get it' so to speak, can you give me an example of something, or some concept that held you up for a while?
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: jeffjoe on August 29, 2004, 11:55:01 AM
Assuming that the quizzes accurately measure your understanding.

It seems very likely that the quizzes are meant to check whether you read the material, not necessarily whether you understand the law.

It doesn't seem to me that a quizz can accurately measure your understanding of the law.

But what do I know.  I've been a law student for less than two weeks.

Do you understand the law involved in each case after you've done this?

If you do, you're brilliant.  I'm spending a lot more time on each case than that.

As far as I know, yes.  I mean, I feel like I do, and after that quiz I had the #4 score out of 67 in our class, so apparantly I'm answering the questions right I suppose.  I'll see how that end of things holds up.  I guess I mostly want to know is if cases + class notes is pretty much it.  There seems to be a ton of unnecessary reading to get to the cases in each book, which I just gloss over.  I see everyone in else coming in with all that stuff in pages of notes.  And then in class they're all like secretaries banging away on their keyboards like total freaks.

I'm just trying to ascertain if the cases + taking notes on what the professor says in class is pretty much going to cover typically would be on an exam.

Like, when you say it's taking you several hours to 'get it' so to speak, can you give me an example of something, or some concept that held you up for a while?
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: eee on August 29, 2004, 12:00:17 PM
If you are among the 0.01% of people who can put in no time studying and still do great in school, then wonderful. But you arent in law school to pass a class. you are in law school to learn a profession. How much more capable a lawyer could you become if you put in 5hrs a day of studying? how much better could you represent the interests of your client?

If you are paying the $150k to attend school... why not get your money's worth?

If someone else is paying for you, then you have been given an all-expense-paid trip to hawaii... why waste the gift by spending all your time in the hotel room watching tv? get out there and study!
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: highball on August 29, 2004, 12:10:25 PM
Well, I downloaded his final exam from '97.  It's pretty much the same format as the quiz, just longer.  Like, read this one pargraph scenerio and answer 2 to 3 questions or hypothetical changes of fact for each.  The cool thing is that he limits the # of words the response should be.  They're all like 120 or 250 word max responses.  It looked to me was that the only difference was that he had a whole semesters worth of case law, so he jumbled up multiple issues from various sections into each question.

Maybe our legal writing assignment is a better indication.  It is one of those 'pretend to be a lawyer' deals where you write a memo to an associate.  Client comes in, had to use 5 previous cases to draft an opinion to send to the partner, etc.  25% of the grade for the class this term.  After we got the 1st draft back mine had like 1/5th of the red marks as everyone else and she said that when we have our 1-on-1 scheduled to talk before the final version that she wanted to talk to me about law review.

All I did for the memo was look over a couple of examples on law memorandums I found with Google, looked up the case briefs in Westlaw, used common sense to apply the law to the facts, threw in a 'from the other side' perspective, and wrote in active v. passive like she said to.  I made an outline of the paper I was going to write, so it was sorta like filling in the blanks at that point.  It seemed like the rest of my class lost massive amounts of time actually reading each case  ???
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: jeffjoe on August 29, 2004, 12:13:06 PM
One question.  When you are a lawyer, how will you determine what law applies and how to use it?  In other words, how will you as a lawyer learn the law?
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: highball on August 29, 2004, 12:17:08 PM
If you are among the 0.01% of people who can put in no time studying and still do great in school, then wonderful. But you arent in law school to pass a class. you are in law school to learn a profession. How much more capable a lawyer could you become if you put in 5hrs a day of studying? how much better could you represent the interests of your client?

Well, I'm doing some work.  I just am not wasting my time reinventing the wheel.  I did the briefs by hand the 1st week and they turned out fine.  Then I got a Legalines the second week and using that resource was no different in result for me in terms of content for my outline + understanding, so I started using that because it knocks off a ton of time each night.

What I'd like to know is that is the scope of what I'm putting in my outline (casebriefs + prof. notes + little tabs in my federal rules book) pretty much covers things.

I get the whole "if you brief your own cases you'll learn it better", but assume for a second learning it isn't the issue, outline content is, am I getting enough content in?
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: jeffjoe on August 29, 2004, 12:24:17 PM
I think what we are to learn is how to research and understand the law, keeping in mind the law changes constantly.

If you were a lawyer, would you use Legallines to research your clients case? 

I think our briefs among other things are practice in researching and understanding the law from the original source documents.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: highball on August 29, 2004, 12:27:06 PM
One question.  When you are a lawyer, how will you determine what law applies and how to use it?  In other words, how will you as a lawyer learn the law?

Listen to what he has to say, determine the issues, find the law, apply it to the facts.  Same thing as I'm doing now except I'm skipping the 'listen to what he has to say' part and just reading the summary.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: jeffjoe on August 29, 2004, 12:35:49 PM
What happens when the summary is wrong or leads you to believe that case applies when it doesn't?  How will you argue in court that the case does apply?

One question.  When you are a lawyer, how will you determine what law applies and how to use it?  In other words, how will you as a lawyer learn the law?

Listen to what he has to say, determine the issues, find the law, apply it to the facts.  Same thing as I'm doing now except I'm skipping the 'listen to what he has to say' part and just reading the summary.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: highball on August 29, 2004, 12:40:50 PM
What happens when the summary is wrong or leads you to believe that case applies when it doesn't?  How will you argue in court that the case does apply?

Well, I'm assuming Legalines is a pretty correct brief for each case, so the summary being wrong isn't an issue.  And, there is no court component to the final exam.

Key point here, I don't care about preparing for some future event beyond the final exam.  Just trying to find out if what I'm doing is enough for the final.  I know that's like some cardinal sin, I'll be a bad lawyer, etc.  I'll go to see the Jesuits in confessional about that. (I'm at Georgetown)
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: jeffjoe on August 29, 2004, 12:45:27 PM
The summary being wrong could be an issue.  If you received a bad grade because you trusted the summary, how could you contest the grade?

If your goal is to do well on the final exam without regard to learning or practicing the law, then perhaps you are studying enough, but perhaps you need to reassess your goals.

No offense meant.

What happens when the summary is wrong or leads you to believe that case applies when it doesn't?  How will you argue in court that the case does apply?

Well, I'm assuming Legalines is a pretty correct brief for each case, so the summary being wrong isn't an issue.  And, there is no court component to the final exam.

Key point here, I don't care about preparing for some future event beyond the final exam.  Just trying to find out if what I'm doing is enough for the final.  I know that's like some cardinal sin, I'll be a bad lawyer, etc.  I'll go to see the Jesuits in confessional about that. (I'm at Georgetown)
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: highball on August 29, 2004, 12:54:52 PM
The summary being wrong could be an issue.  If you received a bad grade because you trusted the summary, how could you contest the grade?

If your goal is to do well on the final exam without regard to learning or practicing the law, then perhaps you are studying enough, but perhaps you need to reassess your goals.

No offense meant.

None taken!  That's what I'm trying to find out, if this is enough to get all the content for the outlines to take into the finals.

Hoenstly, my goal is to get paid.  Top 25% and I keep my scholarship.  A GULC, you have the option of interviewing with places at the beginning of the semester.  I did the whole bounce around a bunch of hotel rooms and interview deal.  The dude from Skadden was like, for 1L Summer, just get top 10% and we'll hook you up with $2k take home each week.  I don't think I want to work at a place like Skadden after school, but I'm down with getting paid like that for summer work.  The guys from Pepper & Corazzini were way more laid back, but they only offer like 1/2 of Skadden money to 1LS's.  Even for them though, it was like, just get 10% or whatever it takes to be in the 'order of the coif'.  I think it was 10% when I looked it up for that.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: jeffjoe on August 29, 2004, 01:04:44 PM
I don't agree with your goals and -- no offense intended -- it looks like you'll be the kind of lawyer that makes people compare them to whale sh*t.

But you're entitled to define your goals anyway you choose.

Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: highball on August 29, 2004, 01:13:42 PM
At least I'm generally watching CNN or CourtTV when I'm being lazy.  All that Kobe and Scott Peterson trial action.  Did you know that semen comes on panties from the factories in China!?  That's what that Lee guy said regarding Jon Benet, and in Kobe's case, I guess it can stay on after a wash.  I still think he didn't do it, and even if he did, dude has multiple championships, he deserves a break.  It's not like he went all OJ on her.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: BennyQ on September 05, 2004, 12:34:39 AM
I think there is one thing you might be forgetting...or maybe you just don't know yet.  There are not a lot of dumb people in law school to raise your average like there are in undergrad. 

In my first year experience, it was definately the people who studied diligently that got the best grades.  You need to remember that knowing the law simply is not enough to obtain your employment goal.  Even if you feel like you nailed your final, it really doesn't matter how you did objectively.  It only matters how you did compared to everyone else.  In a school like Georgetown, I am willing to bet that 95% of the people are putting in more effort than you currently are. 

Here is one last little tidbit: your class rank on the quizzes doesn't matter yet.  It takes most people a good couple of months to know what they are talking about in law.  While you may be ahead of the curve now, skipping out on work that others are doing will give them a HUGE advantage when finals roll around. 

Motivation is the key.  I guess I think of it this way: would you be willing to put in another hour or two or three per night if it meant getting a top-notch summer job.  Even if you don't want to stay at that firm permanantly, it is much easier to get any job if you have had big-firm experience plus great grades.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: Lavia on September 05, 2004, 03:59:21 PM
Highball, I don't think any of us here are qualified to answer your question. I think you should ask your professor(s).

From what little I've learned in my 3 weeks in LS, I think being top 25% is completely up to the professors. They write and grade the exams. So if they think you're doing fine, like do their practice exams and ask them how you're doing, then that's what counts.

I don't think your morals or goals are in question here. Law school doesn't have to be a killer. Some people put in too much work for the one result...grades. You don't have to understand The Law. You have to understand what the professor who writes and grades your exams WANTS you to understand.

Then the Bar, from what I hear, is nothing like what you did during law school. A totally different animal.

And then when you're a lawyer, you'll do what you think is right and is efficient for you and the client. Since billing is often by the hour, your client won't be impressed that you spent 5 hours poring over thier case when you'd have gotten it in 1 hour. But they also won't be happy if you spend 1 hour but 5 hours would have kept them from losing their case.

That's my take on this game. School is, and always has been, a game, especially when curves come into play. Play the game the best way you can. Your money's worth, to you, is getting that top spot in the class. Go for it! If your goal is to read each case with a fine-toothed comb, do that! Whatever gets you where you want to be.

The Dean even told us that there is no doubt that not attending classes can result still in great grades. Hence, they require us to go to class cause they know we don't have to, but they want us to get the full experience.

If our Dean tells us that class isn't essential to passing the exams, then I'm guessing he's being honest. So we can't take the finals if we miss too many classes.

Anyway, long story. Do what works for YOU.

Lavia
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: jslick on September 09, 2004, 02:19:21 AM
I'm an admitted neophyte, but I daresay that if all you do is copy from an outline, you're cheating yourself.  Worse, if you actually receive a J.D., you might, along the way, have set yourself up to cheat your clients by offering advice on which you have not earned the right to speak.  Again, I'm a neophyte, but copying outlines is not the same as actually studying the cases, doing a lot of thinking, and understanding the reasoning behind the court's holdings.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: jslick on September 09, 2004, 02:23:04 AM
>"I get the whole "if you brief your own cases you'll learn it better", but assume for a second learning it isn't the issue, outline content is, am I getting enough content in?"

If learning isn't the issues, why go to school?
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: egfmba on September 09, 2004, 07:03:53 AM
In re: your study habits:

Do you feel like you know the prof and what he wants? When you sit down for your final, will you understand how to apply what the prof wants you to know to the hypo on the exam?  It doesn't matter to anyone else but you how you study because you're the only one who's going to rely on that at the end of the year.

If you think you're studying enough to 'get it', then nothing anyone here has to say will change your mind.  I think as long as your gut feeling is that you're doing fine, go with it.  We all develop a method that works for us and find out how it really works at the end of the semester, so each of us is subject to the 'time will tell' caveat.

I could say you're not studying enough or you're studying just right or you're studying too much, but I'm only measuring your performance based on my abilities if I do that, so I won't.  I think my study habits work for me and your interpretation seems to be that yours are working for you.

Continued luck in school to everyone!!! :)
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: ($) on August 24, 2005, 12:36:01 PM
Quote
All I do is write down the outline headings for my reading, skim the books and jot a note or two, and then copy the casebriefs from Legalines into my notes so I'll be ok for class. That's like an hour tops for each class.

You're in good shape, fella! I would love to have the time to actually copy the canned briefs into my notes, but unfortunately I don't, so I bring the actual canned brief with me in class. 
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: SassDiva2000 on August 24, 2005, 04:46:29 PM
I'm really confused as to why you're bothering to even copy the legal lines briefs at all instead of simply bringing them to class. It sounds as if you're briefing simply for the sake of briefing. It's really difficult to gauge whether you are utilizing an effective study method. Some people don't have to study very hard and do well in law school. You might be one of those people.

But let me say one thing about briefing: I discovered early on that I don't brief for class. A lot of people spend enormous amounts of time briefing (particularly in their first year) because they want to be prepared in case they get "called on." I, too, was among them and soon discovered that I absorbed/learned nothing. I now brief for me--- my briefs are organized and arranged in a way that will help me learn and make sense of the material. I don't write down the issues, procedural posture or any of that other stuff unless it's necessary for me to understand what is going on in the case and ultimately, the law. With that said, you need to employ whatever method will help you to understand the law and test well in your particular professor's class. If what you're doing will help to do those things, rock on.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: katrina on September 02, 2005, 02:37:00 PM
Quote
I'm really confused as to why you're bothering to even copy the legal lines briefs at all instead of simply bringing them to class.

At my school students try to avoid bringing Legalines and Casenotes series in class, they do not want to be seen by other students and professors using canned briefs.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: Melinda on September 03, 2005, 01:17:07 PM
Quote
I'm really confused as to why you're bothering to even copy the legal lines briefs at all instead of simply bringing them to class.

At my school students try to avoid bringing Legalines and Casenotes series in class, they do not want to be seen by other students and professors using canned briefs.

Same here.  They seem really taboo, but everyone seems to be using some type of supplements.  I think more for competitive reasons people are holding out on what they have.  I saw a guy handing a classmate the E&E's and comm. briefs he had borrowed, and it seriously looked like some type of illegal drug deal was going down.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: be10dwn on September 03, 2005, 01:27:30 PM
I call BS about the interview thing.  I didn't think you could interview before November per the ABA.  This seems kind of like a troll to me.
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: sandokan on September 05, 2005, 02:09:14 AM
Quote
saw a guy handing a classmate the E&E's and comm. briefs he had borrowed, and it seriously looked like some type of illegal drug deal was going down.

LOL the way you described it was so funny!
Title: Re: Am I studying enough?
Post by: ernesto on September 05, 2005, 06:29:04 AM
Highball,

I think you are studying smart. If you know the blackletter law and can apply it, it doesn't really matter whether you got it through briefing your own cases or not. Just be sure you can handle dissecting longer fact patterns (I am assuming those quizzes were short answer or short fact patterns) that you will have to analyze on your finals. I think there is a lot of hype about law school. It is not rocket science and the 1st year curriculum is universal, which means there are many sources for the knowledge we are expected to amass in our classes.