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Messages - wcabkk

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Studying and Exam Taking / Re: rant, depressed
« on: December 01, 2007, 08:02:53 PM »
I was glossed over for a number of study groups yet ended up transferring from t1 to t14 with good grades.  i found study groups helpful in so far as that they calmed my nerves and reminded me of things i'd missed, but in evaluating a study group as a whole, I'd consider it to be a net negative becuase you won't have as much certainty if any issues break out and you're forced to rely on what a classmate is saying.  you're better off meeting with someone or with the professor to bounce your understanding of something and then going back to your materials alone if there is any misunderstanding (in other words, don't shelve your casebook as an above poster has suggested).

 don't worry about others' tactics; instead, follow this intuitive advice which will ensure success.  outlines are not something you read over and memorize--exam preparation doesn't lend itself to that format.  An outline is just a consolidation of all information in that course, something which you would rely on if you hadn't attended class or read the book.  I and other students who have done well extract material from our outlines to organize the material in a way that prepares you for the exam.  You then use these materials by memorizing them (e.g., flashcards) or  bringing them with you into an exam.

substantively

Look over practice exams to get a sense of the structure you'll need to use to answer questions.  If, for example, civ pro has you going through a case step by step, it might be a good idea to organize your materials in a timeline fashion:  here's what I can do on a complaint, here's what I can do pre-answer, post-answer, etc.  Know when to use everything and the nuances which separate them, etc; while preparing these think of how to resolve any latent ambiguities or combinations.  On an actual exam you'd then go through each of these issues in your head to see if they apply and then hash out your analysis of the most pertinent points.  for crim for example I might have the MPC and commonlaw crimes listed on separate sheets of papers and then flesh out all the nuance and interaction in bullet points beneath.  this is really just anothre type of outline, ensuring that you cut all the fat from it.

performance

I wouldn't recommend bothering with LEEWS.  for almost every exam, follow irac and, if applicable, separate sections with bolding, underlining, and new paragraphs to make it easier for you to organize your thoughts and for the professor to see this organization.  Example of how my A exams (at old and new school) have been structured, without exception:

One possible issue is felony-murder. F-M applies if X, Y, or Z.  Here, F-M probably wouldn't apply (ALWAYS qualify this statement a little, but use different levels of qualification, like almost certainly, probably, unlikely, etc.).  the prosecutor could argue A, B, or C.  Defendant might counter with D, E, and F.  Prosecutors reasoning might be more compelling if we have this assumption because of blah, or if this was interpreted in such a such way becuase of blah.  Public policy A favors such; B favors otherwise (I rarely use PP unless it's an obvious issue).


Do this on practice exams and re-read them after you're done.  you'll find that professors exploit ambiguities in the law with their fact-patterns, and these will give rise to larger doctrinal issues that will reappear over and over.  make a list of these as you prepare your materials and as you go through practice exams. if you can't resolve these by using the book, talk to your professor directly, using the broader doctrinal perspective in approaching the issue, not saying "on practice exam #2 such and such occured" initially (instead, once he gives you an answre on the broader issue, be like: so, if [insert something similar to the exam scenario]then the answer would be [what you now know because of the doctrinal stuff]).  Go to the professor once you have a list of all the issues (i usually had 3-4 per exam I couldn't resolve on my own) so you aren't continually going back and forth.

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Indiana - Bloomington / Re: Dworkin torts outline?
« on: July 07, 2006, 01:40:02 PM »
Your class might be different from ours. In our class, he only taught negligence. He didn't teach us much about intentional torts because (and I think he's right about this) int'l torts just require rote memorization to master.

If this is the case, there is a book by this guy named Leon Green which I would recommend checking out from the library. I think the book might be called Rationale of proximate cause, but you might want to ask him. In terms of outlining, you need to realize that outlining is not a means to an end. Outlining is just a very efficient for you to consolidate your notes. Once you have all of your notes consolidated into an outline, which will offer you SOME structure for the exam, you then create your study materials from this outline. For Dworkin's class, his tests are usually three questions, each three hours long. The tests are also closed book. The exam questions will offer a fact-intensive negligence scenario and then ask you to write a judicial opinion, a memorandum to supervising attorney, or jury instructions based on the fact-pattern. Each of the styles, obviouly, rqeuires something unique from the students in terms of tone, organization, and procedural nuance.

If his exams are the same for your summer class, an example fact-pattern will be like:

Torino was riding in an ambulance which picked him up when he was injured from a ski accident at the local ski chalet and the ambulance, which picked him up 30 minutes late resulting in a 10% decreased life-span, then crashed into Maria who as manically driving back home in a rush to attend a wedding. You are a trial judge and the defendan thas moved for summary judgment. Write your opinion below.

So you wil have ot start off with (and emphasize) the procedural posture: As this case comes to us on a motion for summary judgment, we must decide whether it is more likely or not that a reasonable jury could find that the plaintif blah blah blah. (I don't remember hte exact language, but have it memorized.)

Then you will go through and be like: there are different conducts that the ski chalet could have had, there are different conducts that the ambulanc ecould have had, here's how each would have been classifeid as unreasonable conduct, here's how there's causation, here's why there's a duty, and maybe add in prox cause.

In terms of organizing your study materials, you will want to look at how he expands or contracts the different doctrines of law. In other words, each of those little 'lawyer technques' he teaches you will be instrumental in forming a quality answer in your exam. Examples of this are things like, for duty, stating things in very broad, general terms vs. stating things narrowly and specifically. If you say come on what are the chances that you unleash a boat from the dock and it travels two miles after banking off the shore before crashing into a bridge which just so happened to be closed, that's a very narrow description and the answer is probably: unlikely. But if instead you say: what are the chances that a frazzled rope attachd to a ship on a raging river might break and cause damage to the public, that's a general, broad description, and the answer is: likely.

So you need to internalize all of these techniques and use them in your exam when shaping your answers. He also probably taught you a set of doctrine attached to each individual element (negligence, causation, duty) and he probably glossed over Prox Cause and advised against using it bec/ it's the pink elephant. Know how to use these sets of doctrine and recall with precision what he said about negligence, causation, and duty. Know all of the other things as well, like which statutes count (safety statutes w/ qualificatinos X Y and Z), know how informed consent works and hat it's good for, know about res ipsa and that you should mention but not use it, and all of the other little points he makes.

In all, his lectures really just bring up about 10 hours of substantive torts doctrine, split into 10-12 different issues relating to negligence. ALl of the other lecture hours are to get ingrained into your mind that there are certain lawyerly techniques which he wants you to use. Good luck.

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Indiana - Bloomington / Re: Dworkin torts outline?
« on: July 03, 2006, 04:18:49 PM »
There is a Dworkin "lecture-map" which has been circulating around IU for the past few years, and it lists, almost verbatem, every point in every lecture he makes. I will not post it for you. Dworkin's class runs off of a set script and is at first glance, more than anything else, an experience in entertainment and not learning. But this really isn't true. For Dworkin's class, here's what you should do:

Prepare reasonably well for class if you don't want to get embarassed.

All of those little rants he'll go on, memorize where he goes and what he says. For example, for informed consent, the exchange will be like: How do you determine what knowlege is valuable when you're giving informed consent? Student: well, everything which might negatively affect the probability of success on a surgery, so things like a child's death or 0 sleep would obviously need to be disclosed. Dworkin: But where do you draw the line? Student: it would be difficult because, with a large enough sample-size collected, I'm sure you could figure out that quesdillas decreased prob. of success whereas eggs for breakfast increasd them, and although it might be possible for a consulting firm to collect all of this data, it just doesn't seem feasible.

It's just *&^% like that. He'll go off wherever there might be a 'slippery slope' or wherever there's some doctrine which might present lawyers or courts without clear direction. So, you need to know the doctrine INSIDE and out in terms of all of the different med *&^%, the elements of RIL, etc, and you should know where they apply. Also, he hates RIL btw, but for something like the hypo he  gives where a truck's tire falls off the truck because the chain apparently has a defect, but then the chain gets lost, you might want to say something about how it's a situation where P can take advantage of res ipsa even though it isn't res ipsa.

I think that for the finals he rewards exams which argue very well and pay very close attention to the fact-patterns. You need to know the doctrine in order to fit the facts and argue things well. But, you also need to go over each o the doctrinal points. SO if it's a medical question, go over each of the medical things and, whenever he has a position on something (like for informed consent) and something related to that shows up in the fact pattern (like he might throw in a loss chance statistic), then, just to make sure you're doing things correclty, you'll want to throw in that little blurb about informed consent which will be a recappitulation, if you took good notes, of his little tangential rant on informed consent. You'd just be like: well...while we might use inforemd consent, so and so could argue etc etc.

Also, you're going to want to go ahead and rent that book by Leon green he recommends at the end of the class. Don't use ANY outlines bec/ he tests STRICTLY on negligence.

Remember to go through these steps on the exam:

FIND THE CONDUCT AND DEFINE IT. Talk about DIFFERENT CONDUCTS (so like, break it up into: if this is the conduct, then blah blah blah, if this is the conduct, then blah blah blah) becuase which conduct you choose matters a LOT. You define negligence FROM THE CONDUCT, so picking a conduct is really really f-ing important. Remember that DUTY is essenitally a policy question -- how responsible should that person performing that conduct be? Causation is usually a no brainer; remember to use the Justice Traynor Stair example (dark stairs, lady dead at bottom of the stairs, so if something which would have naturally caused the fall is there and the fell happened, a reasonable inference to draw is that she fell down the stairs). Remember DONT USE PROX CUASE on the exam unless he specifically asks for it or you know waht youre talking about. You shoudl only be using prox cause to buttress a borderline duty argument. In other words, if it's kind of dicey to say that someone had a duty to the plaintiff, say, well, it's forseeable and amakeup some bull policy reasons, and thsu prox cause.

He says that policy isn't bull. He's somewhat right. Remember to always look at how costs are spread and who was in a better position to prevent something.

On your practice exams (AND TAKE MANY), practice finishing your exams in 50 minutes (assuming he will be alotting 60 min. per on the actual test). Also, practice mapping out your argument. So if you have two potential conducts, just put conduct1; conduct2 at the top of your scratch sheet, draw lines down saying: negligence: (doctrine point 1, doctrine point 2), cause (doctrine point 1; doctrine point2), etc, and that way your *&^% will be structured.

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