Law School Discussion

Off-Topic Area => General Off-Topic Board => Topic started by: BlackDuck on May 04, 2011, 07:54:48 PM

Title: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: BlackDuck on May 04, 2011, 07:54:48 PM
Talk to my prelaw advisor, told her that I wanted to improve my writing. She said that one of the most effective ways to improve writing is through reading allot. As a result, I am now on the mission to read books daily. What books do you recommend?

Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: FalconJimmy on May 05, 2011, 07:16:52 AM
If you want to improve your writing for the purposes of Law School, you should check out the following:

LEEWS

http://www.leews.com/


Getting to Maybe

http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Maybe-Excel-School-Exams/dp/0890897603



Her advice, in my opinion, seems more appropriate to being a better writer in the fine arts sense.
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: BlackDuck on May 05, 2011, 12:46:43 PM
Legal writing is unlike anything else in the world, and reading literature will only get you farther from where you want to be. If you really want to get a sense of what it is to write like a lawyer--clearly and succinctly--go to your local courthouse and talk to one of the judges. Ask who the judge considers to be one of the best writers; there shouldn't be many. Also ask how the judge feels that lawyer's writing could improve and keep that in mind. While you're there, get as much information as you can about the real practice of law, which will likely destroy any ideas your pre-law advisor gave you about being a lawyer. Once you've gotten what you need from the judge, go to the clerk's office and request the file for one of the lawyer's cases and read everything in it. This will do two things for you: first, it will give you an idea of what good legal writing is and how it's structured; second, it will give you an idea of what lawyers really do. If you can get through that file and maintain an interest in doing that for the rest of your life, go to law school. If you only get a few pages through the complaint (the first document) before wanting to gouge your eyes out, it's time to rethink law school.

If you're just interested in how to write law school exams, FalconJimmy's advice is best.

Thanks for this advice. I am wondering if the judge will have time to talk to a undergrad student?
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: BlackDuck on May 05, 2011, 05:00:47 PM
What if I wanted to read more to increase my reading ability and vocabulary for the LSAT. Then what would you recommend? Any good novels? 
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: Thane Messinger on May 05, 2011, 09:08:29 PM
What if I wanted to read more to increase my reading ability and vocabulary for the LSAT. Then what would you recommend? Any good novels?

Not novels (or not just novels), but periodicals.  And not just any periodicals.  The Atlantic Monthly, The Financial Times, The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal.  (Note that two of the five are English.)

If, by the way, you find those interesting, that's a very good sign.  = :  )
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: FalconJimmy on May 06, 2011, 06:04:24 AM
Talk to my prelaw advisor, told her that I wanted to improve my writing. She said that one of the most effective ways to improve writing is through reading allot. As a result, I am now on the mission to read books daily. What books do you recommend?

Dude, seriously, it's all I can do right now not to tell you to stop doing this.

You got bad gouge from your prelaw advisor.  This is a rabbit trail that will get you nowhere.

You have 2 main missions right now:

1.  Getting into the best law school you can.
2.  Getting the best grades you can in that school.

If you do that, you'll get the best law job available.

Wasting your time on anything that doesn't contribute to #1 or 2 is a waste of time. 

Not saying that you should never waste your time, but don't waste it on things you don't want to do, in the belief that doing so will help you in your pursuit of a JD, when that's just not true.

Forget doing a bunch of reading of this, that or the other.  Focus on getting the best GPA you can get if you're in school.

Then, prepare for the LSAT.  Take some prep classes, or if you can't afford that, buy the powerscore books or some other prep books and work them so you can get the best possible score on your LSAT.

That's it.  Anything else you do won't matter one whit as far as what you should be focusing on right now.

When you aren't working on #1 and 2, relax, enjoy your time, spend it with friends, catch up with family, recharge your batteries.  Once you start law school, you won't have time for much of that anymore.
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: BlackDuck on May 06, 2011, 08:44:34 AM
Talk to my prelaw advisor, told her that I wanted to improve my writing. She said that one of the most effective ways to improve writing is through reading allot. As a result, I am now on the mission to read books daily. What books do you recommend?

Dude, seriously, it's all I can do right now not to tell you to stop doing this.

You got bad gouge from your prelaw advisor.  This is a rabbit trail that will get you nowhere.

You have 2 main missions right now:

1.  Getting into the best law school you can.
2.  Getting the best grades you can in that school.

If you do that, you'll get the best law job available.

Wasting your time on anything that doesn't contribute to #1 or 2 is a waste of time. 

Not saying that you should never waste your time, but don't waste it on things you don't want to do, in the belief that doing so will help you in your pursuit of a JD, when that's just not true.

Forget doing a bunch of reading of this, that or the other.  Focus on getting the best GPA you can get if you're in school.

Then, prepare for the LSAT.  Take some prep classes, or if you can't afford that, buy the powerscore books or some other prep books and work them so you can get the best possible score on your LSAT.

That's it.  Anything else you do won't matter one whit as far as what you should be focusing on right now.

When you aren't working on #1 and 2, relax, enjoy your time, spend it with friends, catch up with family, recharge your batteries.  Once you start law school, you won't have time for much of that anymore.
Wow! Thank for the advice. That what my pops keeps telling me. It is nice to hear it from someone else. Yet reading the WallStreet Journal does not sound like a bad idea.
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: FalconJimmy on May 06, 2011, 08:58:37 AM

Wow! Thank for the advice. That what my pops keeps telling me. It is nice to hear it from someone else. Yet reading the WallStreet Journal does not sound like a bad idea.

It's not a bad idea.  I also love the Economist.  I had to subscribe for a class way back when. 

Just saying that if you read it because you WANT to, that's awesome.  If you read it believing it will impact your future as an attorney, the amount of effort involved, versus the amount of benefit you derive, makes this a bad idea.
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: Thane Messinger on May 06, 2011, 12:58:48 PM

Wow! Thank for the advice. That what my pops keeps telling me. It is nice to hear it from someone else. Yet reading the WallStreet Journal does not sound like a bad idea.

It's not a bad idea.  I also love the Economist.  I had to subscribe for a class way back when. 

Just saying that if you read it because you WANT to, that's awesome.  If you read it believing it will impact your future as an attorney, the amount of effort involved, versus the amount of benefit you derive, makes this a bad idea.


A slight modification of Falcon's take:  It will make you a better attorney, and, carefully used, it will make you a better law student.  Note the qualifier as to the latter:  this is one way most law students go wrong.  It's natural to think that "literature" (or grand thinking, etc.) will be rewarded.  The way most of us are taught to use it, no. 

The deeper point is that if you LIKE reading these, that is a very good sign . . . because it shows a mental fluidity and acuity and lots of other positive -ities.  More importantly, it shows that mental work is you.  Focused correctly, this is law, and focused even more, it is law school.

The opposite point is equally true:  if you try reading these for a month (every one, every day/week/month), and you're thinking "This is soooo boring!" . . . stop.  Ask what it is that bores you.  If it's learning, reading, thinking . . . stop again.

Chances are, however, that nearly everyone taking the LSAT will find it interesting, and will learn, and will improve--even if tangentially.

See?  We can too have fun.

= :  )
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: .Chuck on May 06, 2011, 02:38:08 PM

To learn how to write better I suggest reading guides about basic grammar and writing.  You might find them helpful to refresh your memory about concepts you were supposed to be taught in grade school and high school. 

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/ (http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/)

This link contains important information about keeping tenses correct:
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/consistency.htm (http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/consistency.htm)

Sentences like the ones below will not fly well in application materials or in written/essay exams. 

Quote
Thank for the advice. That what my pops keeps telling me. It is nice to hear it from someone else. Yet reading the WallStreet Journal does not sound like a bad idea.

&

Quote
Talk to my prelaw advisor, told her that I wanted to improve my writing. She said that one of the most effective ways to improve writing is through reading allot. As a result, I am now on the mission to read books daily. What books do you recommend?

Also, use the dictionary to expand your vocabulary.  When you encounter unfamiliar words you should look them up and also take note of their proper spelling. ('allot' means something much different than the phrase 'a lot')
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: Thane Messinger on May 06, 2011, 06:46:51 PM

To learn how to write better I suggest reading guides about basic grammar and writing.  You might find them helpful to refresh your memory about concepts you were supposed to be taught in grade school and high school. 



Purdue has an excellent online resource:  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/

Thane.

PS:  To all, there's easily a resistance or even antipathy towards grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.  This is unfortunate, as everyone can improve.  (Yes, I check the dictionary too many times to count.)  Graduate and especially doctoral students spend much of their time proofing and re-proofing their work, and woe be unto the graduate student who repeats a basic error.  (Actually, not always.  They will, however, find it hard to get stellar recommendations and inside job tips.)  In law school, this is confined mostly to a process that's rather important in a different sense than learning: the application process.  Know that faculty members sitting on admissions committees--and everyone else in admissions--cares about this, rather a lot.
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: .Chuck on May 07, 2011, 07:30:31 AM

To learn how to write better I suggest reading guides about basic grammar and writing.  You might find them helpful to refresh your memory about concepts you were supposed to be taught in grade school and high school. 



Purdue has an excellent online resource:  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/ (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/)

Thane.

PS:  To all, there's easily a resistance or even antipathy towards grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.  This is unfortunate, as everyone can improve.  (Yes, I check the dictionary too many times to count.)  Graduate and especially doctoral students spend much of their time proofing and re-proofing their work, and woe be unto the graduate student who repeats a basic error.  (Actually, not always.  They will, however, find it hard to get stellar recommendations and inside job tips.)  In law school, this is confined mostly to a process that's rather important in a different sense than learning: the application process.  Know that faculty members sitting on admissions committees--and everyone else in admissions--cares about this, rather a lot.

Yes.  I agree 100%.  I blame escalation of the problem and deterioration of attention to proper grammar and language in large part on the growing use of and dependence on wireless digital Txt messaging for day to day communication.  Heavy daily use of and reliance on cell phones, smart phones, iPhones, portable web access devices, twitter (with the 140 characters per tweet limit), FB status updates, etc. for primary day to day communications is impairing development of solid reading and writing skills in the younger school aged generations.     
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: BlackDuck on May 07, 2011, 11:05:25 AM
Chuck, thank you for the advice. As you can see I need to work on my writing. I greatly appreciate the advice from the forum.

Thanks.
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: .Chuck on May 07, 2011, 08:29:39 PM
Chuck, thank you for the advice. As you can see I need to work on my writing. I greatly appreciate the advice from the forum.

Thanks.

No problem duck.  Improving writing skills is an endless quest.  I use my dictionary and other resources like the ones in the links whenever I'm unsure about grammar and phrasing.  Staying in that habit is always helpful to fine tune important text as well as to improve comprehension of sophisticated writings. 
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: Duncanjp on June 18, 2011, 07:10:50 PM
Chuck and Thane have both identified exactly what I see in your posts, BlackDuck. I would note that your interest in asking for literary recommendations puts you ahead of some, if not many. I approve ha ha. Actually, I applaud. If you find reading weighty literature interesting in itself, then reading legal texts will terrorize you not at all. You may even find that you have a leg up on those who restrict their recreational reading to the funny pages which I love to read. Well: Monty, anyway. Just being a happy reader will put you ahead of the game. I have laughed through the reading of almost everything Mark Twain ever published, although he didn't write expressly for the literati. But I've also consumed Herman Melville's works like popcorn, always with my dictionary within close reach. Moby-D ick (it comes out as Moby-male private part when written as normal on this website) was a staggering experience for me, partly because when I first read it, I had no clue how the story would end. But beyond the plot, I loved the loftiness of Melville's English. It thrilled me to the quick of my soul to circumambulate the watery parts of the world with someone who knew so many words that I had never heard before and who could write a sentence that extended for half a page or more without ever losing its train of thought.

Moby-male private part, I think, is a good boot camp for law students. It shows that other people will misunderstand and censor your references, regardless of how innocent your references may be. At any rate, my approach is to consult my dictionary whenever I encounter a word I cannot confidently and conclusively define. Never blow past a word that you cannot immediately define. Consult your dictionary or go to dictionary.com. Use it. Love it. Live it. In fairly short order, you'll begin to recognize verbs like allot. And "male private part" will begin to appear silly.
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: Thane Messinger on June 19, 2011, 02:19:45 AM
Chuck, thank you for the advice. As you can see I need to work on my writing. I greatly appreciate the advice from the forum.

Thanks.

There's a short book that has specific advice on this point as well.  It's Law School Fast Track.  Among the recommendations are those as to reading (and writing as well).

Thane.
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: Julie Fern on June 21, 2011, 09:56:34 AM
no help for julie...
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: ! B L U E WAR R I O R..! on June 26, 2011, 08:36:06 PM
...GLOBAL RIFT...

it is a must read!

we worked hard on this book...
Title: Re: What literature do you recommend?
Post by: erickagrimes on December 18, 2011, 05:27:20 AM
Maybe literary can't help that much. But if you're interested there's a lot of good non-fiction stuff. I like the Tipping Point.