Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: FalconJimmy on September 23, 2011, 08:45:40 AM

Title: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: FalconJimmy on September 23, 2011, 08:45:40 AM
Now that one month is in the books, just curious how everybody is feeling at this point.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on September 23, 2011, 02:41:50 PM
You won't know untill a month into your next semester how you did in your first semester. You will assume, you can't do much else.

If you think you are doing great, you are probably the gunner.

If not, and you are studying extra hard to counteract a massive panic attack, you might become a 2L someday.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: FalconJimmy on September 24, 2011, 06:06:29 AM
Fair enough, JAS.  What I'm curious about is how folks are feeling, not necessarily how they're going to do at grade-time. 
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Duncanjp on September 24, 2011, 01:05:02 PM
If not, and you are studying extra hard to counteract a massive panic attack, you might become a 2L someday.

I'm a 2L, but looking back at last year, that statement is fairly accurate for how a 1L should be feeling after one month of law school. Some 1Ls seem to spend as much time looking for shortcuts to learning the material as simply reading and learning the material. This is perilous. Yes, it's a hell of a lot of work. But I'm generally of the view that there are very few meaningful shortcuts. Some say that you don't really have to read the cases to pass the exams. And perhaps a few people out there do fit that profile. But I would caution any 1L against embracing that idea because in reality, it's not going to work for the vast majority of 1Ls. I've got a load of reading to do myself for next week, so I can't spend a lot of time here, but here are a couple of benefits to reading and briefing all of the cases: 

1) to witness how a plethora of diverse facts are analyzed by legal minds and how they apply the law to such facts; and
2) to develop a "legal voice" in your head.

You can memorize the definitions and elements of inchoate crimes, 3PB contracts, private nuisance and all that fun stuff that we learn in 1L. But rote memorization doesn't teach you how to write a great essay in which you analyze the facts and apply the elements the way an attorney would. I discovered as a 1L that reading a thousand cases begins to infuse a certain intangible quality to one's written analysis on exams. It's a certain "legal voice," for want of a better term, that gets cultivated over months and months of reading endless cases about drunks scratching out an offer to sell the farm on a napkin or the knucklehead who shipped himself aboard the train in a box with the intent to rob it. As you flood your brain with all these cases, you start to hear a subtle new voice in the back of your mind, which is a composite of all those erudite judges' voices mixed with your own. This is the voice that you use when you write your exams. It's not just an enhanced vocabulary: it's analysis. Developing this legal, analytical voice/outlook is critical to writing an excellent paper. And it comes in large part from reading, reading, reading one case after another. And just as critically, from writing practice exams over and over.

After only one or two months of law school, if you are feeling comfortable, unhurried, or "got this sucker in the bag," so to speak, and you're brushing off even some of the reading, then you may want to carefully consider whether or not you really want to reach 2L. It's easy to fool yourself. 1Ls in September should feel sightly overwhelmed, together with a sense of urgency to complete all of the work. I don't know if you need to panic, but I can say from experience that that's not far removed from how most of the 2Ls that I know felt in September-October last year. It's certainly how I felt.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: jerzeelaws on September 27, 2011, 12:41:13 PM
Hello,

As a 1L I had no clue what to do.  How do you study for exams, what should I be doing in class, pre and post.  I read getting to maybe and some other guides. Tools like LEEWS and GTM are useful, but honestly I did not have time to read that on top of my class reading and Legal writing assignments. 

I was referred to a Wolters Kluwer Aspen site promoting their new test taking 1L strategy guide.  The book has an online interactive feature, that includes actual law school exams with annotated feedback from the professors who graded them.  This book cuts to the chase.  You can read it in an afternoon and apply the tools right away. 

www.WoltersKluwerLB.com/lawprep

http://openbook.wolterskluwerlb.com/
They have traditional essay exam, multiple choice and short answer format.  However they will be charging a small fee to access some of the exams.


Wolters Kluwer is also running a supplement discount sale. 25% off the entire shipment and free shipping. 

Included are Academic Success Titles, Examples & Explanations, Emanuel Law Outlines, CrunchTime, Law in a Flash, Blondís, Friedmanís, Siegelís, Aspen Treatise Series, and Bar review titles. This code does not work for casebooks or other course materials. Just enter "REP104" without the quotes in the promo code field during checkout. Use this link www.wolterskluwerlb.com/learn
http://www.wolterskluwerlb.com/learn
www.wolterskluwerlb.com

They have traditional essay exam, multiple choice and short answer format.  However they will be charging a small fee to access some of the exams.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Hamilton on September 27, 2011, 01:04:15 PM
Get your hands on the professors old exams and study them along with answer guide to show you best way to format essays.

How do you study for exams, what should I be doing in class, pre and post.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Pdukes on September 27, 2011, 07:41:34 PM
1ls are not tested on legal writing skills.  They are tested on well they understand the material when given a different set of fact patterns.  Making sure all the elements are met or not met.  IRAC with detail.  If you think you have to write like you are some judge in 1800 England your nuts guy.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on September 28, 2011, 11:39:54 AM
You do if you have to take a Legal Research and Writing class, or scholarly writing, or advanced writing, Pre trial skills, or any other required writing course.

You also are if you take non required courses like law review and moot court which you can't find a job in reality without anyways.

Plus of course clinics or externships. They just love people who talk like Jersey Shore and write like a serial killer on an acid trip. Try it, see how it goes.

1ls are not tested on legal writing skills.  They are tested on well they understand the material when given a different set of fact patterns.  Making sure all the elements are met or not met.  IRAC with detail.  If you think you have to write like you are some judge in 1800 England your nuts guy.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: jack24 on September 28, 2011, 03:13:25 PM
Good legal writing is usually learned through practice, not study.  Some people are naturals, but most people have to write briefs and pleadings over and over to improve. 
It's extremely easy as a 1L to get side-tracked by pursuits and strategies that will not actually help you prepare for the final exam. 

Try to listen and read and all that good stuff.  Read a commercial outline or hornbook if you are stumped... but in your extra time: get an old outline for the class and go over it many many times along with taking notes on the outline during class, get any practice tests you can get your hands on and write out your answers.  The best way to succeed on a law school exam is to prepare specifically for a law school exam, rather than trying to be a universal legal scholar.


Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on September 28, 2011, 06:04:02 PM
IE-get ahold of previous terms exams from the same prof in the same course, with redmarks if possible to explain how they grade. The dumber the student who took it, the more you will learn from it. Try to get one that looks like was graded in a butcher shop(covered in more red ink than not)
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Duncanjp on October 01, 2011, 12:18:29 PM
1ls are not tested on legal writing skills.

You think I'm nuts? LOL.

They are tested on well they understand the material when given a different set of fact patterns.  Making sure all the elements are met or not met.  IRAC with detail. 

This is accurate.

If you think you have to write like you are some judge in 1800 England

Who said anything of the sort? I said, "It's not just an enhanced vocabulary: it's analysis." Professors may give you a pass on a certain measure of misspellings when you're writing against the clock, but writing in IRAC format is writing like a judge. The "legal voice" of which I spoke is in the mind. It's a sensitivity, a capacity for proper analysis of a fact pattern that begins to develop as you become increasingly familiar with case law. You start to hear the attorney in your head. As Justanothersucker suggested, A/B papers are not written by Jersey Shore writers. It has little to do with using 25-cent words, although if your vocabulary doesn't enlarge noticeably after even a mere month of law school, then you aren't doing the reading.

your nuts guy.

You're my nuts guy?


Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Duncanjp on October 01, 2011, 12:28:43 PM
Good legal writing is usually learned through practice, not study.  Some people are naturals, but most people have to write briefs and pleadings over and over to improve. 
It's extremely easy as a 1L to get side-tracked by pursuits and strategies that will not actually help you prepare for the final exam. 

Try to listen and read and all that good stuff.  Read a commercial outline or hornbook if you are stumped... but in your extra time: get an old outline for the class and go over it many many times along with taking notes on the outline during class, get any practice tests you can get your hands on and write out your answers.  The best way to succeed on a law school exam is to prepare specifically for a law school exam, rather than trying to be a universal legal scholar.

Absolutely correct. There is no question that the best way to succeed on exams is to practice writing exams, especially old exams from the same professor. I aced my finals in May, and I did it by spending 14 hours a day for the three or four days just prior to each exam doing nothing but writing practice exam after practice exam.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Cher1300 on October 03, 2011, 11:04:00 AM
So far so good, but it's really hard to tell until exam time comes.  I'm going at night, and it's been helpful for me to keep a schedule for studying.  As tired as I might get, I'll put on a pot of coffee and just sit and do it.  There are people in my class who don't brief and are taking the short cuts people suggest, but I'm avoiding all of that.  Frankly because I don't care if someone "never briefed a single case."  If they don't have to then good for them.   I, however, prefer to brief because it helps me understand the law and cases a bit better since I'm writing it in my own words.   I've been out of school for a long time, so I don't want to mess with short cuts.
I try to work on my outline once a week.  The practice exams have also been helpful.  I just started doing them, but think it's an invaluable way to study for your classes.  Our professors are really good about going over our practice tests during office hours also - so the feedback is important.  Lastly, I am using the law in a flash cards and find those to be a nice break from regular studying. 
If I can keep this up, I'm hoping it will pay off.  A's will be difficult on a C curve, but I want to at least be comfortable taking my exams when they come around.     
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: jack24 on October 03, 2011, 01:14:40 PM
I really hope this works for you.   Do what you are comfortable with and work hard, but just recognize that everyone else is probably doing something similar, so you'll only get better grades than them if you have more gifted legal mind.   What I have tried to describe in this thread is not a short-cut.  I'm not saying that if you do _________ you'll have a ton of free time to follow your dreams and party.  I'm simply suggesting that, in my case, if I would have spent all the time I wasted reading cases and briefing during 1L analyzing outlines and practice tests, I would have done a lot better.

1L I did almost exactly what you are doing.  I read every case, I took notes, I analyzed the notes and I made my own outlines.  I used flashcards and supplements to give me an edge.  I got a 3.09 on a 2.8 curve.

2L I read for about half the classes, but I started to use other outlines.  I was on law review and doing moot court and had a new baby so things were tough.  But I got a 3.4 on a 3.0 curve.

3L I still took tough classes with a lot of 2Ls, but I concentrated my time on old outlines, practice tests, and my writing quality.  3.92 on a 3.1 curve.


I'm not saying my method (or short-cut or whatever) will work for you..  But I do think that if you spend 25% of your study time reading and briefing cases you are probably wasting a lot of time.  Some students find reading and briefing and discussing to be difficult but comfortable.  They think they are working hard because they are putting in the time, but they aren't actually preparing for the test at all.   Doing well on a law school final requires the ability to take a sentence from each one of those cases (rules) and apply those rules to the fact-pattern they provide.   
Yes, each case essentially represents a court applying a list of rules to a fact pattern, and it's helpful to understand that process.. But reading and briefing cases is the slowest way to understand.


So far so good, but it's really hard to tell until exam time comes.  I'm going at night, and it's been helpful for me to keep a schedule for studying.  As tired as I might get, I'll put on a pot of coffee and just sit and do it.  There are people in my class who don't brief and are taking the short cuts people suggest, but I'm avoiding all of that.  Frankly because I don't care if someone "never briefed a single case."  If they don't have to then good for them.   I, however, prefer to brief because it helps me understand the law and cases a bit better since I'm writing it in my own words.   I've been out of school for a long time, so I don't want to mess with short cuts.
I try to work on my outline once a week.  The practice exams have also been helpful.  I just started doing them, but think it's an invaluable way to study for your classes.  Our professors are really good about going over our practice tests during office hours also - so the feedback is important.  Lastly, I am using the law in a flash cards and find those to be a nice break from regular studying. 
If I can keep this up, I'm hoping it will pay off.  A's will be difficult on a C curve, but I want to at least be comfortable taking my exams when they come around.   
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Hamilton on October 03, 2011, 01:29:29 PM
IMO Jack is right.  You can get everything you need by spending quality time with a canned brief, study guide, and perhaps scanning the case - will save 30% to 50% time reading and "learning."  Spend the time you saved taking practice tests and applying the concepts.  Do you really need to read an 8 page case to effectively learn and understand the concept of "open and obvious" in premises liability?  The "black letter" series were excellent briefs for getting to the heart of things.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Duncanjp on October 05, 2011, 01:36:07 PM
IMO Jack is right.  You can get everything you need by spending quality time with a canned brief, study guide, and perhaps scanning the case - will save 30% to 50% time reading and "learning."  Spend the time you saved taking practice tests and applying the concepts.  Do you really need to read an 8 page case to effectively learn and understand the concept of "open and obvious" in premises liability?  The "black letter" series were excellent briefs for getting to the heart of things.

We've had this discussion before, but I always enjoy advocating for the other side. Sick in the head, perhaps. The platitudinous obvious, of course, is to do what works for you. With 1L under my belt, I can't deny that I don't feel the need to read every word of every case anymore. This is especially true on those eight-page cases where you take away a single rule of law that can be succinctly expressed in about eight words. In hindsight, some of that reading is probably a waste of time, particularly if your time needs to be budgeted. A canned brief can cut to the chase - and I made good use of canned briefs as a 1L, especially in contracts. (I don't want to intimate that I would never use a canned brief.) However, I was a much greener student last year than I am this year. Today, my case reading consists almost exclusively of speed reading through the facts and fluff to find that one-sentence rule of law or the two-pronged test that I'm going to need to apply to fact patterns on exams. But are most 1Ls equipped to assume such an abbreviated approach right from the start without having read any significant number of cases? Maybe, maybe not. It's a value judgment, granted. It's also a gamble. Learning to glean relevant information quickly from elaborate fact patterns takes practice. Canned briefs don't teach you how to brief. And being able to brief a fact pattern thoroughly is fundamental to writing a good paper. I have no regrets at all that I read all of the cases last year. Almost half of my 1L class didn't make it to 2L, and while the reasons are diverse, I don't know any 2Ls next to me who shortchanged the reading last year. After reading so many cases, you eventually arrive at a point where you can zip through them at speed and find the point that you need to take from it without having to read every single word comprehensively. Some people get there faster than others. But I would only caution 1Ls, especially early in the game, not to assume that they're smarter than the law school process. If reading the cases were not important to a well-rounded understanding of how to apply the law, then worthwhile law schools would not assign them to be read in the first place.

Parting thought. When called upon to brief cases in class, those who didn't survive 1L, together with those who placed in the bottom of the class, invariably just started reading the case aloud. And they'd read every freakin' bloody word until the professor mercifully stopped them. I used to marvel at this. God, I'd sit there squirming in silent agony at these high school reading-out-loud voices "briefing" the given case, and all I could think was, "Future attorney? Good luck." The students who placed at the top of the class never did that, including the book-briefers, like myself. I didn't have time to write out a formal brief for every case, although I tried to write at least one of my own for each class. Yet even by just book-briefing, a quick glance  at the facts and the issue you've scrawled in the margin and you'd say, "Oh yeah, I remember this one. The guy did this and that. The issue was whether... The rule was... Overturned." 1, 2, 3. It's easy to tell when somebody has read the case at least once, and the whole class respects that person a lot more than the plain readers. However, the litmus test is, who did better on the exams? This becomes self-evident. Ultimately, the students who discipline themselves to do most or all of the reading will also discipline themselves to do the necessary practice tests and further, they'll get more mileage from every practice test they write than will those who skirt the reading.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 05, 2011, 03:28:19 PM
that all works untill the prof ask you specific details on the case, you don't know them, look like an idiot, it happens a few more times in a row, get sent to the dean, get kicked out..........stuff like that.

You can pass your tests and do your work at the same time too. It's crazy I know.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Hamilton on October 06, 2011, 06:09:44 AM
I would bet dollars to donuts that has never happened.

that all works untill the prof ask you specific details on the case, you don't know them, look like an idiot, it happens a few more times in a row, get sent to the dean, get kicked out..........stuff like that.

You can pass your tests and do your work at the same time too. It's crazy I know.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: jack24 on October 06, 2011, 09:33:12 AM
that all works untill the prof ask you specific details on the case, you don't know them, look like an idiot, it happens a few more times in a row, get sent to the dean, get kicked out..........stuff like that.

You can pass your tests and do your work at the same time too. It's crazy I know.

You are just full of sass.

You may be fully aware of this, but law school is almost always graded on a hard bell curve.  My school curved to a 2.8-3.0.  The result was that after my 1L year a 3.5 was in the top 12%, a 3.1 was ranked 33%, and a 3.0 was ranked 48%.  More than 50% of the class was between a 2.8 and 3.1. 
That 50% chunk was made up of a lot of hard workers who read and briefed and "passed" their tests.   

You may be able to rely on raw intelligence, incredible memory, or a unique and persuasive writing style to give you an advantage, but its far more likely that those people who really excel in law school know how to target the truly important information and present it to the professor. 

My argument here is not that people should abandon doing their homework, but I do think that it is unnecessary and wasteful (at least after week 3) to spend more than 30 minutes per one hour of class reading your book.  My recommendation to most 1Ls would be to cap your weekly book and case reading time to 8 hours.

15 hours in class, 8 hours of reading the book, 4 hours of reading your class notes, 8 hours of studying hornbooks, supplements, and prior class outlines (preferably before class time starts) and then about an hour a day either writing out your own outlines or doing practice tests and flash cards.


That's 40 hours a week of SOLID work.  For most law students, that would take about 50-60 hours a week to accomplish since most people can't pull a true 9-5 every day without getting distracted and taking breaks.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 07, 2011, 10:01:21 AM
If you say so guys. Plenty of Profs have been "I don't care who fails" and let you check facebook all day. Most of mine though actually have asked specific details of each case and made students stand up in front of the class while doing it. They claim they learned it in some archaic movie called the "paper chase" (which I hear had hippies crying or some BS in it)

Socratic method. What do you THINK it means?
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Hamilton on October 07, 2011, 10:37:27 AM
There is a difference between being totally unprepared to discuss a case and not knowing some fine details when asked by the prof.  EVERYONE at some point does not know the answer to a specific detail asked about, but so long as you are capable of discussing the basic facts of the case and rule of law it does not matter.  Profs will only waste time going after you if you are habitually totally unprepared and have not done any work to prepare for class.

If you say so guys. Plenty of Profs have been "I don't care who fails" and let you check facebook all day. Most of mine though actually have asked specific details of each case and made students stand up in front of the class while doing it. They claim they learned it in some archaic movie called the "paper chase" (which I hear had hippies crying or some BS in it)

Socratic method. What do you THINK it means?
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 07, 2011, 03:00:01 PM
ok, we are saying the same thing then. Know your cases enough to discuss them in class, don't skip them all together. Do outlines too for extra help. I agree.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Cher1300 on October 09, 2011, 10:30:24 AM
I do agree with duncanjp.  What I'm finding so far, is some of the ones looking for shortcuts are wasting a lot of time trying to figure out the short cuts.  There is a difference between being disciplined and reading and taking shortcuts to "how can I get through law school and do the least amuont of work possible."  It really hasn't been long enough for us 1Ls to be too condfident, yet I hear some students brag about how they only skimmed the case and got it, etc.   The fact is, it really doesn't matter until test time comes.  I'm not sure if they're just trying to psych people out, but as I said before, I really don't care this early on. 

There is also a difference depending upon your professors.  My torts professor is ADAMANT about briefing cases and having you rewrite and come up with the holding in your own words.  She badgered one student who didn't brief her case and reiterated that this is what she expects for first year students.  Our contracts professor, on the other hand, really doesn't care if we brief the case.  She does expect us to know the issue, holding, and rule, but said she would rather we spend our time doing our outlines and practice exams.  I have used canned briefs as a reference.  Especially for the older cases that have a lot of useless wording, but will continue to brief the cases myself for at least the first semester.  It has been easier already to spot the holdings, etc., and I'll probably do less as time goes on.  I wouldn't, however, just say brief or don't brief.  Maybe the ones who don't brief will do better on the exams than I will, but I will do my outlines and practice exams also.  I just think there is a fine line between being efficient by using shortcuts and just being plain lazy.   
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: FalconJimmy on October 09, 2011, 04:47:12 PM
One thing that's astounded me so far is the number of students who, when called on in class, readily admit that they didn't read the case.  Note, I didn't say "brief"... they didn't read the case. 

Sometimes it can take a chunk of time to do all the case reading.  Some classes aren't that bad.  2 or 3 cases for each class.  (Each class meets twice a week.)  Others are more like 5.

So far, once in a while a random prof will have the class brief a case and turn it in, but for the most part, so long as you can show that you at least read the case, you're okay in class.  The profs, at least so far, aren't grilling people.  They just want to keep the class participative and to know that the students have read the cases.

Personally, I don't think the students are blowing off the briefs because they think they have a better method.  I think they're blowing off the briefs because they're not putting the work in.

As the semester goes by, I find I can absorb the information in a case much, much faster.  Generally, I can cover about 5 cases an hour to the point where I can at least talk about them.  Figure maybe 25 or so total cases for the week and that's not really that bad if you ask me. 

Where I wish I were doing more work is on my outlines and doing practice exams.  My son is playing football right now, and I'm helping coach.  Practices are 2 hours a day and games on weekends.  Fortunately, the season ends in exactly 2 more weeks.  That should let me focus solely on exam prep for a month and a half before exams.

I'll tell ya one thing, though, I sure wish I'd done all this before my life got so complicated.  Though, in all honesty, if all I had to do all week is prepare for law school classes, I would probably be just like the kids who show up without having read the cases. 

We have two graded assignments before the finals roll around.  One is a legal memo for our writing class, and the other is a mid-term for property.  Other than that, all the grades are based on the final exam.  So, I'm trying to focus hard on the memo and the mid-term, then get ready for finals. 

So far, I can honestly say that this has been a lot of fun.  Some of that is that I bring that "old guy" enthusiasm that I always found so annoying when I was younger.  The non-traditional students came in and they usually were pretty business-like and focused.  Back when I was young, I was always paying attention to everything BUT school. 

I'm not stressed out, yet, but I'm also not really kicking into exam-prep mode either.  Plus, as others have pointed out, it's far too soon to comment one way or another on whether what I am doing is enough or not.  Until we have 1L grades, we're just guessing, at best. 
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 09, 2011, 06:47:18 PM
students who dont at least read the cases will suffer on the exam. Want to know why? Profs base their scenarios of their essays largely on the cases, and not normally the big commonly known ones you see in your canned briefs you can buy with bubble gum, I mean the "note cases" in between that they may not even mention in class. Trust me, it happens a lot. If you read it, you can win extra points by even refering to the case by name(if you remember it) and key details of the case. They might only "give" points for elements and exact case names, but if you show them you know what you are talking about, they find ways to round you up to the next grade. They just do. Same vice versa for when they smell duesh and want to take what should be an A- and magicly find a way to turn it into a B.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: bigs5068 on October 09, 2011, 08:24:57 PM
I think you are seeing why sites like JDunderground frustrate me so much.  Many law students simply do not put in the work, then they complain and take no responsibility for themselves I truly wish professors would be harder on students who don't prepare, but that is another topic

Some helpful hints that I didn't realize until second semester for FalconJimmy are Cali Lessons and ECaseBriefs when studying for your final. I remember referring back to e-case briefs site and just reading the synopsis they provide which was really helpful. Cali Lessons are an easy thing to use and I found them very helpful. I think more important than outlining is doing the proper amount of practice problems particularly if you have multiple choice questions. It is very nuanced, but there are only so many trick ways to ask a question and once you have done enough of them you see a pattern. It sounds like you have been staying on top of it, but remember practicing the problems are KEY!  I know everyone learns differently, but I just wanted to offer some friendly suggestions that have worked for me. Good luck.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: FalconJimmy on October 10, 2011, 07:42:55 AM
Thanks Bigs.  Starting in November, my plan is to do prodigious amounts of practice exams.  Essay questions, MCQs, anything I can get my hands on. 
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Cher1300 on October 10, 2011, 10:04:42 AM
Falconjimmy, I hear you on the "old" person enthusiasm.  I think you are correct that it goes beyond briefing to just not putting the work in.  Most of the people not doing the work tend to be the younger students just out of undergrad.  Not all - but many.  Although it does take a chunk of time to read the cases, it's really not that bad.  As time goes on it takes less and less time to get through them.   At least read the cases if you don't want to brief them or don't feel like you need to.
I spoke to a 2L last week who did really well last year and he credits a big part of it having to do with not being young and not feeling like he needed a social life.  One guy complained that reading the cases is confusing and it's stupid to make law students brief cases because he's going to be a rainmaker.  LOL  And he was dead serious. 
As justanothersucker says, you won't get additional points for citing elements of the restatements.   The practice exams we've been given so far are scenarios similar to that of the cases.  As time goes on and we read more cases, it will be essential to at least have notes if not briefs. 
For most of us, however, we are putting the time in and I'm hoping it will pay off if we can keep it up.  Good luck!
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: jack24 on October 10, 2011, 12:58:22 PM
First:  What benefit do you get from reading the cases? (I'm not implying there isn't any)

Second: Yes, in most cases you absolutely will get extra points for mentioning things not covered in class.  Professors pretend that their test grading is so accurate and particular.  They claim that they will only give points for things covered in class.  However, I got plenty of points for public policy and logical arguments that weren't covered in class.  I brought my professional experience into finals all the time and got a lot of points.  Professors also warned against using commercial supplements because they would include information that wasn't covered in class.  I relied on these all the time and got points because the law was correct.  Law school grading is about organization, black letter laws, exceptions, good logic and application, and then interesting points that the teacher likes.  I took a risk one time and went off on how the fact pattern in a final would never happen, and it wouldn't be in the business' best interest to sue.  I said if they did sue, the issues and likely outcome would be _____, but the first question is whether a law suit was even a good idea.   I got the book award in that class even though the teacher had professed that he would not give points for anything that wasn't covered in class.

Finally, I don't think anyone is saying you shouldn't read the cases. However, don't think that it's the most effective method just because that's what you are "supposed" to do.  For every minute you spend reading the book you could be doing something else.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: bigs5068 on October 10, 2011, 05:05:40 PM
Also do practice exams TIMED! Many of the first year essays are racehorse and you need to know how balance your time etc. Many people first semester complained about running out of time etc and you can know the law backwards and forwards if you don't write half the stuff down because you ran out of time your not getting good grade. You need to learn how organize and outline your answers as well as know how much time you can realistically devote to each topic.

Another thing I thing that is extremely important is to use headings to separate your topics. It won't necessarily give you more points, but in reality a well organized easy to follow exam will make your professor pleased when they are taking 100 or so of them home.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 11, 2011, 03:14:13 PM
if you guys have the time to write these long of posts, take that energy into actual studies and you will be fine.

-"I don't have time to read all my cases, let me explain it on LSD in a half an hour long type session three times per day".
 ::)
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: jack24 on October 11, 2011, 03:42:34 PM
if you guys have the time to write these long of posts, take that energy into actual studies and you will be fine.

-"I don't have time to read all my cases, let me explain it on LSD in a half an hour long type session three times per day".
 ::)

Well I'm an attorney now, so any free time I have is a product of how fast/hard I work on projects.
My longest post was 365 words.  Actually typing that many words takes me about 4 minutes.

Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 11, 2011, 04:19:07 PM
so very possibly outdate info?  ???

if you guys have the time to write these long of posts, take that energy into actual studies and you will be fine.

-"I don't have time to read all my cases, let me explain it on LSD in a half an hour long type session three times per day".
 ::)

Well I'm an attorney now, so any free time I have is a product of how fast/hard I work on projects.
My longest post was 365 words.  Actually typing that many words takes me about 4 minutes.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: jack24 on October 11, 2011, 04:26:24 PM
Sorry.  Not clever enough to know what you are talking about.



so very possibly outdate info?  ???

if you guys have the time to write these long of posts, take that energy into actual studies and you will be fine.

-"I don't have time to read all my cases, let me explain it on LSD in a half an hour long type session three times per day".
 ::)

Well I'm an attorney now, so any free time I have is a product of how fast/hard I work on projects.
My longest post was 365 words.  Actually typing that many words takes me about 4 minutes.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 12, 2011, 09:14:38 AM
So get more clever.
Kind of half my point anyways right there.

Sorry.  Not clever enough to know what you are talking about.



so very possibly outdate info?  ???

if you guys have the time to write these long of posts, take that energy into actual studies and you will be fine.

-"I don't have time to read all my cases, let me explain it on LSD in a half an hour long type session three times per day".
 ::)

Well I'm an attorney now, so any free time I have is a product of how fast/hard I work on projects.
My longest post was 365 words.  Actually typing that many words takes me about 4 minutes.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Ringside74 on October 13, 2011, 11:07:22 PM
I feel great. I've been studying my ass off more than anyone. I've gotten really good at issue spotting and did lots of extra exam prep before midterms earlier this week. Felt great to work that hard.

I am no gunner, though. I usually get flustered and nervous if the teacher actually calls on me. I freak out. Not sure why. I usually am comfortable with the material because I make liberal use of the library's outside study resources.

What's made issue spotting really easy for me thus far is thoroughly learning any rule that the teacher gives me inside and out.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 14, 2011, 10:05:11 AM
People always talk smack about "gunners" but I found that the classes that I was the gunner in I did better than the ones where I tried my best to be a conformist cliche(basicly my entire 1L). You don't have to talk if you don't want to, but be ready and prepared for it if you get called on.

The only people that I ever really hated were the ones who THOUGHT they were gunners but actually knew less than the kid who slept in the back row wearing an ICP shirt and constantly crying about his "wiskeysh*ts".

It's ok to answer the questions you know. If you know a lot, anwer a lot. If you are dumb as rocks, that is also ok. Just only raise your hand to end sentences with a question mark. It's ok for dumb kids to ask a lot of questions, just not to give a lot of dumb answers while arrogantly pretending to be right all the time. -If you are raising your hand, asking yourself how "Jersey Shore" you feel this week, I am talking about you.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: FalconJimmy on October 15, 2011, 03:04:49 PM
The only people that I ever really hated were the ones who THOUGHT they were gunners but actually knew less than the kid who slept in the back row wearing an ICP shirt and constantly crying about his "wiskeysh*ts".

It seems like this is what some people define as a gunner.  It's as though there's two separate ideas being crammed into one label, here.

There are the gunners, so called because they're gunning for the top spots in the class.  However, they're doing so in a manner that attracts attention to themselves.

then, there are the gunner-wannabes.

A lot of folks seem to associate the gunner-wannabes more closely with the term "gunner" than they do actual people who are visibly staking out the top rankings in the class.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Cher1300 on October 17, 2011, 12:43:37 PM
1.  Reading the cases just reinforces the doctrine for me.  Maybe I learn differently, but it is where the law comes from and I like to know the "why" of it.  Why did a judge or jury decide this way on this case, but another court decided differently on another case, etc.   The decisions reinforce the black letter law and, for me, makes it easier to apply when given a scenario.  I remember the cases, which is required for our torts class on an exam.  She wants us to analyze and compare a case we read to the scenario given in some detail.  If you don't have to do that, then you probably could spend your time doing other things.  Again, a student should be prepared for what is expected by the professor and I'm sure you agree with that.

 2.  You are probably correct that one will get extra points for things not mentioned in class.  One of my professors says we don't have to use policy arguments in our answers, but based on many 2L's experience at my school, it will get you additional points.   So definitely add it if you have the time.   

Again, I really won't know how I'm doing til I get my grades.  But for now, I really don't mind putting the time in.  It's not overbearing or killing me or depriving me of a social life.  It's all good right now.


First:  What benefit do you get from reading the cases? (I'm not implying there isn't any)

Second: Yes, in most cases you absolutely will get extra points for mentioning things not covered in class.  Professors pretend that their test grading is so accurate and particular.  They claim that they will only give points for things covered in class.  However, I got plenty of points for public policy and logical arguments that weren't covered in class.  I brought my professional experience into finals all the time and got a lot of points.  Professors also warned against using commercial supplements because they would include information that wasn't covered in class.  I relied on these all the time and got points because the law was correct.  Law school grading is about organization, black letter laws, exceptions, good logic and application, and then interesting points that the teacher likes.  I took a risk one time and went off on how the fact pattern in a final would never happen, and it wouldn't be in the business' best interest to sue.  I said if they did sue, the issues and likely outcome would be _____, but the first question is whether a law suit was even a good idea.   I got the book award in that class even though the teacher had professed that he would not give points for anything that wasn't covered in class.

Finally, I don't think anyone is saying you shouldn't read the cases. However, don't think that it's the most effective method just because that's what you are "supposed" to do.  For every minute you spend reading the book you could be doing something else.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 17, 2011, 12:48:15 PM
RULE#1 OF LAW SCHOOL: PROFS LIE!!!!!!!!!!!

They will get mad if you call them on it(seen it happen to stressed out 2L's mad at same Prof they had as a 1L for said lies and made mistake of calling Prof out on it in front of class)

They will say BS like "don't outline dump. I dont give credit for that"(lie)  or "If you just get a one sentence I will still give full credit". (lie)

What I hate the most is the lies in print. Where the exam says "4 setences of less for answer. I won't read beyond 4th sentence". Then for the answersheet it shows a WHOLE PAGE of what the points are broken down for. You add them up and realise that regardless of what you cramed in the 4 sentences, the number of points they award per grade would still only equal a C-WTF?!?! And yet those who did "dump" get an A.

-RULE#2 OF LAWSCHOOL: WHEN IN DOUBT, REFER BACK TO RULE#1.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: Ringside74 on October 20, 2011, 03:06:34 PM
RULE#1 OF LAW SCHOOL: PROFS LIE!!!!!!!!!!!

They will get mad if you call them on it(seen it happen to stressed out 2L's mad at same Prof they had as a 1L for said lies and made mistake of calling Prof out on it in front of class)

They will say BS like "don't outline dump. I dont give credit for that"(lie)  or "If you just get a one sentence I will still give full credit". (lie)

What I hate the most is the lies in print. Where the exam says "4 setences of less for answer. I won't read beyond 4th sentence". Then for the answersheet it shows a WHOLE PAGE of what the points are broken down for. You add them up and realise that regardless of what you cramed in the 4 sentences, the number of points they award per grade would still only equal a C-WTF?!?! And yet those who did "dump" get an A.

-RULE#2 OF LAWSCHOOL: WHEN IN DOUBT, REFER BACK TO RULE#1.

Crap. Definitely did not know that.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: bigs5068 on October 20, 2011, 03:54:41 PM
Don't know if that is true of every single professor or even most professors. The reality is every single professor has a different style and the way you become familar with that style is by looking at their old exams. I outline dumped on one test and that was the worst grade I ever received in law school I have gotten A's in every class I didn't do that, but I am sure there are professors out there that would take an outline dump it all depends on the professor.  Don't get caught up in what BarBri or anything else says for a law school exam your taking the professor's exam that they wrote and they have the answer to. When they write it that want it a certain way and the prior model answers they selected show you what they want.
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: justanothersucker on October 20, 2011, 06:58:33 PM
Bigs is right about that. If you listen to your Prof's they will tell you how OTHER profs are "wrong" and they are "right"  on subjects (or sometimes refer to lawyers outside the school if they are being PC that day) Just remember that what you write down in their essay to get an A may fail you on the bar some day. That being said, like Bigs says, play the game.

It's real fun if for x1 you for a prof that think the opposit of prof2 for x2 (fill in x with conlaw, civpro,whatever)
Title: Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
Post by: bigs5068 on October 20, 2011, 09:36:04 PM
Yes that is exactly right play the game. Professors have their biases opinions etc and if you can throw in something they liked to talk about during the semester they probably will be happy if you write it. If you go to class everyday and really pay attention you can get a feel for how they think etc and play into their personality and you will get good grades. I have my answer published as the model in 7 classes and I think a lot of that had to do with using a few quotes the professors really liked. I knew the law of course, but it is an anonymous exam and if you put in writing that you were really listening you might get a brownie or point or two. Don't do that on the bar that is when you go by the barbri book, but don't go by BarBri in law school.

I don't know how many 1L students said I just listened to teh BarBri lecture and read this supplement that supplement and the other and although they can be helpful the law is not as black and white as it should be. Your taking the professors exam and every professor has a slightly different spin on the law and thinks different things are important so instead of trying to find an outside source that your professor is unaware of pay attention to what they are saying. In law school you are taking an exam on the professor not always the law. Obviously you need to the law to some extent, but reciting what Chemerinsky says in his MPRE lecture on your school's Professional Responsibility exam is not going to get you anywhere, but so many students try so hard to look for a shortcut when the key to success is quite simple. Read the pages your professor assigns, pay attention in class-no internet, and get a feel for how professor who is writing and grading your law school exam thinks.

I think the skill of learning to understand what the person in authority wants is key to being a lawyer. When you pass the bar you are going to go in front of judges and they will have their own style and often vastly different views on the law. I have worked for a few judges now and seen it first hand and I certainly saw it through reading cases. I mean Justice Thomas has his own way of viewing things I love him, but I remember in Con-Law reading the facts and already knowing he was going to the lone dissenter. If he was Superior Court Judge you were going in front of you would need to know how he thinks, because whether the judge is right on their black letter law when they put an order in it's over absent going through the time and effort of an appeal. You would be a lot better of knowing the judges style and thought process opposed to going in with what a textbook somewhere said.