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Messages - Benjamin

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Using black letter outlines in conjunction with the the "Understanding" series is a good approach.  Black letter will tell you what needs to be memorized.  Understanding will help you to understand what you are memorizing.  Then you will have it memorized, and understand it.  After this point, the black letter outline format will help you to think about it all in a more organized way.  Then, you can confront new hypotheticals (such is the purpose behind Examples & Explanations, among others), if a question pops up that doesn't fit into your new mental framework, you can consult the "Understanding" book (or other hornbook/treatise style aid of your choice) for a more thorough discussion.  I think this technique will suit you well when you try to "IRAC"; organized outline structure helps you spot issues, memorization helps you dissertate the rule, a solid understanding of the framework, development, and rationales behind the law will help you with your analysis.  The whole combination will help you with confidence and a clear/concise presentation. 

As for the other study aids, many serve a separate purpose.  For example, High Court saves you time by getting you prepped for class in about 1/5th as long as regular briefing; time that can be used more effectively with other study aids.  It is true that you might buy some and not use them, or you might buy some and use them only a little bit.  But you do not have to read a study aid cover to cover in order to make it worthwhile. 

Anything that saves you time, helps you understand a concept, or makes studying a little less boring, is probably worth it.  Don't try to budget the bare minimum on aids, you are going to spend a lot of time studying, give yourself plenty of options on how to spend that time.  Sometimes all it takes is a new turn of phrase by a new author to make the lightbulb go off.  I promise you, when the year is over you will not curse yourself too much for spending a few dollars on an aid that ultimately was not used, but if on a test you misunderstand a concept unnecessarily, your frugal approach to study aids will haunt you. 

As far as canned briefs, High Court are the best.

The Lexis "Understanding" series is very good for teaching the big picture.

The "Examples & Explanations" series are good because they pose, and work out answers for, hypotheticals.

Emmanual's or Gilberts are almost a must for black letter law outlines.  I prefer Emmanual's for most subjects.

Each of these belongs to a substantially different catagory of study aid.  I found each to be useful in its own way.  The combination provides better overall perspective.  Plus, having a variety of types of aids helps to make studying a little less boring; any changeup that helps you keep your interest also helps your retention of the law, which is, after all, the point.  So, if you see a study aid and it looks interesting enough, why not buy it?

Current Law Students / Re: RomLaw
« on: August 09, 2005, 12:47:28 PM »
I thought Romlaw was crap.  I tried it out for a little while the first few weeks, but noticed a number of errors in the briefs.  I would stay away from it.  Go with the High Court series if you want canned briefs.

Current Law Students / Re: What would you do?
« on: August 08, 2005, 09:16:30 PM »
What would you do if your son was at home
Crying all alone on the bedroom floor 'cause heís hungry
And the only way to feed him is to sleep wit a man for a little bit of money
And his daddy's gone
Somewhere smoking rock now
In and out of lock down
I ain't got a job now
So for you this is just a good time
But for me this is what I call life, mmmm

Is that how you feel?

Probably not, but her question started off the same.

Was this comment, that you failed to submit, part of a competition, or was it something that was merely a formality that guaranteed law review admission for anyone who was invited to submit?

Anyways, what would be so complicated about the story you would need to tell people?  "I didn't accept."

I guess that explains why I have a -2 rating.

In all seriousness, there is no trick to that class.  You cannot spend to much time on it.  It is the most fundamental to what law school is all about; teaching you to think and communicate like a lawyer.  The harder your professor is, the harder you work, the better it will make you at the essential skills, and the better you will do in the class, in school, and in practice.  Figure out a way to keep from burning out, writing class is where a lot of the heavy lifting takes place. 

Plus, doing well in any class is largely about efficient use of study time.  Lots of people will be working all the time, you probably will be too.  But try to make your use of time as efficient as possible.  For legal writing, you are trying to find the most efficient way to incorporate criticisms about how to make your writing more clear, concise, and persuasive. 

Also, if your professor is any good, expect some tough love.  If you can't swallow your pride, you're a gonner.   

Well, my way got me an A.

Its all about learning how to either relax your jaw, or hold your breath, as the case may be.

Current Law Students / Re: I don't think I got on Law Review...
« on: July 21, 2005, 01:04:50 PM »
Tell them that you would be on law review, except that your school is retarded and doesn't let you grade on.

That is ridiculous.

Current Law Students / Re: Law school admission with criminal record
« on: August 06, 2004, 02:57:38 PM »
I have a misdemeanor conviction on my record.  The charges were for an M1 in my state, underage alcohol possession, but subsequent to a plea agreement I pled no contest to disorderly conduct, an M4.  I was honest about it in my application.  I tried to show how my experience helped me to mature.  I do not believe most schools expect a perfect past from every student.  Conviction for a crime through itself does not make you a bad person.  What I do think desirable schools are after with respect to a personís character are honesty and integrity.  If you can show that a conviction was constructive in your life then I do not believe most admissions offices will want to lord it over you.  In fact, I think it might have helped my application as much as it hurt.  From what I have seen I expect that I will not have any difficulty being admitted to the bar because of my conviction given that I fully disclosed it to my school at the proper time.

Personally, the arrest and sentence helped to provide perspective in my life on alcohol, school, the law, and societal expectations on individuals.

I am sure the burden on you is going to be different depending on what the conviction is.  Felony convictions, I would think, require more evidence from the applicant as to why they can be expected to set a professional legal example in the future.  I doubt you can look like a recidivist and be accepted.  But I think the idea is the same almost no matter what the conviction; it is more central who you are likely to be in the future than who you probably were in the past.  Their view of the latter no doubt comes into play when forming  their thoughts on the former, but the two are still distinct.   I am also comfortable reasoning that you must accept authority, at least to the extent that if you contest it you do so through sanctioned behavior.  Perhaps this description does not fit a good number of those people with criminal convictions.  I think it is important to proactively show if it does fit you.

Then again, I have never been on an admissions committee in my life. 

Current Law Students / Re: Need Laptop Recommendations
« on: July 31, 2004, 07:46:26 PM »
The Sony TR line is fantastic.  I used mine the first half of this year as an undergraduate.  There is no other laptop line out yet that I would consider switching mine for. 

3.1 lbs, 3.5 - 6hr battery, 1280x768 high viewing angle screen, cdrw-dvd, 1ghz, 512 ram, 40gb, 802.11g, screen mounted 640 x 480 swiveling motion camera.

Head and shoulders above the competition.

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