Wow -- West Rocks! And a Boalt student to tell me about it and everything!
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Messages - SleepyGuyYawn
Yea, at my law school, 90% of students use laptops for exams. And generally (I think) mult. choice questions rarely make up more than a third of any exam (that may be different for fourth tier schools, as they focus more on preparing students for the bar exam, which has a lot of mult choice). And many exams (most exams at many schools) have no mult choice or short answer questions at all -- only issue spotters.
The recommendation of a summer course that costs $5000 to $9000 kind of irks me -- b/c I fear that some people who might not have the money to begin with might spend it b/c they feel it's necessary, or b/c they're scared about not succeeding in law school (especially first-generation college students). Plus, of course, you must consider whatever earnings you lose in the summer while you're doing that course -- pushing the cost into the tens of thousands perhaps.
I know a couple people who participated in such summer courses and I am confident that they were no better prepared for exams than any other average student. Maybe this doesn't apply for you, sjab, but then again you may have felt comfortable with law school even if you didn't take this -- there are some people who just naturally take to it better I think, and you might be one of those people, mistakenly believing it was the summer course.
Or I could be wrong. Perhaps the summer courses are helpful. But I do know one thing: two of my friends who are 3L's are in the top 10% of their class, and neither did any preparation before law school at all (I know b/c I remember asking them about it before I started).
I had a hard time believing this before I started law school, but there really doesn't seem to be any great way to prepare. Yes, I remember thinking that sounded a bit silly, but it's true.
As I see it, there would be two ways to prepare, if you were to do so. You could prepare substantively or procedurally.
Substantive preparation would be trying to learn the law before you're a student. I think this is highly unlikely to be successful. I suspect that there's something about the process of law school -- learning to think like a lawyer (like a law student) that makes you able to gradually understand concepts in torts, contracts, property, civil procedure in the way that a law student should. But if you read a hornbook before law school, I think it would be confusing and frustrating. I think I would really wonder what to do with all of that information. And it's hard to realize the nature of the law before law school. It's hard to grasp the ambiguity of the law -- and that the law as an entity that isn't concrete. And without that understanding, the commercial supplements don't make much sense I think. Besides that, you really don't know what your professor is going to cover and how. Some good advice for law school is that you should remember that you're not taking, for instance, just "torts" -- rather you're taking "torts with professor _____." It makes a difference.
Procedural preparation is trying to figure out how to succeed on exams and succeed in your preparation for class. But this is hard. I think, for example, that most law school prep services are a total waste of money. Because if your law school is anything like mine (and I think most schools), most people have to adapt their studying techniques greatly -- with time and to their own learning styles. There is no "off the rack" law school advice that fits everybody (at least none that will be useful past the first two weeks) -- not even the "how to brief" advice that's typical of those law school prep programs (most students don't brief past the first month -- it takes far too much valuable time).
Okay -- so I think that "preparing" for law school is pretty much a waste of time (contrary to what I thought last year). But if you really pressed me, I would say there are a couple things you could read to help you understand a little bit of what you're going to be encountering your first semester -- in a way that you could comprehend before you actually start (that's not meant as an insult or anything -- it's only reflective of me really). Yea -- so I would read "A Civil Action." I would flip through a book called "Getting to Maybe" (this will end up being pretty helpful later in the semester I'm guessing). And I would find a book called Heracles’ Bow by James Boyd White -- I think it's out of print. But it was recommended to me by an old professor of mine, and I thought it gave me a real insight into what law is really about.
Any of my textbooks I can get on Amazon -- I already looked there (I'm section A1).
And Amazon is probably cheaper. Although I wouldn't buy your books until Aug 5 -- well, that's what the law school recommends.
I've decided to buy new books, at least for the first semester. It's expensive, yes, but I prefer not having to sort through other people's comments and highlighting for my own. I have enough constraints on my time.
Thank you! Finally some sense. I'll be a 1L soon, and I've been telling people for months that any stress in life is simple if you follow three little words: Pabst Blue Ribbon.
That's all -- easy as pie. And the earlier in the day, the better this advice seems to be
Check out this link:
You can get an education discount through Dell, Apple, and Gateway (http://www.pitt.edu/computer/index.html)
The recommended equipment link on the school of law site should connect (in july or august) to special deals on computers that the law school negotiates. Last year's were a Toshiba, a Compaq, an IBM R-series, and a Sony.
As for me, I'm getting a mac.