Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: IAmMultipleBooks on August 07, 2007, 07:15:10 AM

Title: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: IAmMultipleBooks on August 07, 2007, 07:15:10 AM
I'm an entering 1L, and yesterday a fellow entering 1L was shocked because I didn't know how to write a brief. So now I feel quite far behind and a bit uneasy. What do I need to know before I start class? What will I be expected to do without it being taught?

Also, does anyone have a good website that explains a good format for writing case briefs?

I would really appreciate any advice on this. I feel far behind, considering that others have been reading law prep books this entire summer.

Thanks guys.
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: Non_Prophet on August 07, 2007, 07:39:21 AM
Case briefing --------->  http://lawnerds.com/guide/briefing.html#HowtoBriefaCase

Don't worry about not knowing this already.  Most schools will have you do it at orientation.
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: GA-fan on August 07, 2007, 07:41:57 AM
First thing: don't listen to anything that another 0L tells you that you should know. That includes people at your school AND the number of 0Ls who will invariably post on this thread to tell you what you should have already read.

YOU DON'T NEED TO "KNOW" ANYTHING TO START LAW SCHOOL. Except knowing how to read, speak, and think critically. The school will teach you the rest. Plan to work hard the first few weeks and watch as the people who prepped before school started lose their "edge" almost immediately.

If anyone at orientation starts to tell you about how much prep they did for school, excuse yourself to the restroom, get a drink, and find someone else to talk to who isn't a gunner.
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: Suzieq830 on August 07, 2007, 07:50:19 AM
i was really intimidated at first esp when i talked to ppl that did those pre-law courses.  i really think just RELAXING will do u well. yes, there are many basic things that i wish i knew coming in (mostly procedural stuff that are mentioned in the cases) but you learn them along the way.  plus, that's what blacks law dictionary is for!   
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: Jumboshrimps on August 07, 2007, 08:04:08 AM
Here's what you need to know:

Patience, persistence, and an ability to take yourself lightly while taking your work seriously will get you through law school in one, mentally healthy piece.
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: Blunderbuss on August 07, 2007, 08:06:24 AM
YOU DON'T NEED TO "KNOW" ANYTHING TO START LAW SCHOOL. Except knowing how to read, speak, and think critically. 

This is exactly right. 
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: cswinter on August 07, 2007, 08:10:37 AM
I can't help but chime in to reinforce what everyone else is saying.

Don't get bent out of shape if other people attended that over-priced "pre-law" week held by the Princeton review.  Some of these people might act like they know it all, just because they spent a week listening to some professor say words they didn't understand at the time.  The entire first month of my 1L, this one dude would not shut up about how he "heard this," "learned that," "did this" at that law camp.  Everyone hated him for it and all of the supposed "head start" didn't help him all year long because guess why he won't be coming back for law school? - he flunked out, an incredible feat once you're in the door...
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: kilroy55 on August 07, 2007, 08:33:22 AM
First thing: don't listen to anything that another 0L tells you that you should know. That includes people at your school AND the number of 0Ls who will invariably post on this thread to tell you what you should have already read.

YOU DON'T NEED TO "KNOW" ANYTHING TO START LAW SCHOOL. Except knowing how to read, speak, and think critically. The school will teach you the rest. Plan to work hard the first few weeks and watch as the people who prepped before school started lose their "edge" almost immediately.

If anyone at orientation starts to tell you about how much prep they did for school, excuse yourself to the restroom, get a drink, and find someone else to talk to who isn't a gunner.

Fantastic advice.  Only listen to yourself, and do not even pay attention to what others do.  Who cares!  It is your education.

And I knew plenty of people who thought they knew everything...they are no longer in law school because they flunked out or couldn't handle it, or they were suddenly quiet all the time.  We had a transfer last fall who thought he was the *&^%.  He ran his mouth all the time about how  much work he does etc...  He was suddenly quiet, and very low key last semester.  Everyone does things differently, things can change quickly.  Do what you feel is necessary.  Ignore what anyone tells you if it goes against how you do things(except professors of course).  And just relax, and enjoy the rest of your summer.
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: Gwiz on August 07, 2007, 08:42:18 AM
You must know where the school building is.  But don't listen to me I'm just an 0L... ;)


Seriously, I'm in your boat. I'm probably worse off. 
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: Gwiz on August 07, 2007, 08:51:53 AM
Make sure you know how to dress Fly:
(http://tjsdoubleplay.com/images/kashmoney.jpg)
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: middlelanguage on August 07, 2007, 08:57:19 AM
To reiterate previous posters: Do not do anything to prepare. Prep course are worthless. Ignore what other people are doing. Try to figure out, once you start school, what works best for you. Typically, people will brief cases for the first couple weeks/months and then quit. I stopped after a week or two--but some people continue to do it into 3L because it helps them in class and for outlining. I, however, am a believer that case briefs may be valuable at the beginning because they help you understand important information; i.e., if you spend to much time on them, you won't have enough time to do other subjects. But, after about a week or two, they became worthless to me.
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: kilroy55 on August 07, 2007, 09:33:10 AM
To reiterate previous posters: Do not do anything to prepare. Prep course are worthless. Ignore what other people are doing. Try to figure out, once you start school, what works best for you. Typically, people will brief cases for the first couple weeks/months and then quit. I stopped after a week or two--but some people continue to do it into 3L because it helps them in class and for outlining. I, however, am a believer that case briefs may be valuable at the beginning because they help you understand important information; i.e., if you spend to much time on them, you won't have enough time to do other subjects. But, after about a week or two, they became worthless to me.

Exactly.  I stopped briefing after week 2.  Took up way too much time, and in the end I felt pretty worthless.  But great in the beginning just so you can understand what is important, and what isn't. 
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: dandlewood on August 07, 2007, 12:04:21 PM
You need to know how to take a step back, take a deep breath, and dive back in to the pile of *&^% to fish out the nugget of truth.   ;)
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: littlelisalaw on August 07, 2007, 12:51:41 PM
You need to know how to take a step back, take a deep breath, and dive back in to the pile of *&^% to fish out the nugget of truth.   ;)

Thanks for that analogy!  ;)
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: dandlewood on August 07, 2007, 01:52:11 PM
glad you saw that as a comment, not a flame, lol.  After I wrote it I thought it might have sounded a little sarcastic/cynical.
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: littlelisalaw on August 07, 2007, 02:22:09 PM
glad you saw that as a comment, not a flame, lol.  After I wrote it I thought it might have sounded a little sarcastic/cynical.

Aw, but I am one of the few people you will see around here that enjoys a great sarcastic/cynical comment, when appropriate.  Goes back to taking oneself way to seriously.  And anyway, it resembles the whole Getting to Maybe theme.
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: wesclark on August 12, 2007, 02:42:05 AM
you also need to know how to be self-confident and ignore the absurdity your classmates will spew every single day.
Title: Re: HELP! What exactly do I need to know about law before I start school?
Post by: lwpat on August 12, 2007, 07:15:12 AM
I would suggest getting a copy of Law School Confidential or Planet Law School. Both are good but use what works for you. I agree that profesors put too much emphasis on briefing cases. You need to understand the rule from the case and be able to apply the rule to a different set of circumstances or hypo. Case briefs are available online from many different sources. West and Lexis also has a brief for the case. I jsut copied the Lawyer's Edition from Lexis into my notes and then the rule into my outline. There is a good article on how to read a judicial opinion at
A Day in the Life of a Law Student (http://www.law-school-books.com/day-life-law-student.html)

The only way to good grades is to spend your time preparing for the final exam which usually is two or three essay questions. You must know the Black Letter Law cold, quickly identify the issue and then argue both sides. You never have enough time so the only way to get faster is to practice, practice, and then practice some more. Ask your professor for some hypos and then go in and have her/him review your answers.