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Messages - taplinb

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Current Law Students / Best wishes!
« on: September 04, 2007, 04:12:59 PM »
My thanks to all of you who have responded nicely and respectfully, or will, to naive questions. Karma. Twelve days in and I'm excited and buried. I may not make the time to visit this site for a long while.

Good luck to all who care about the world and their fellows.

Based on my first WRAP (legal writing, etc.) class meeting, I have trimmed my online case briefing form to the following. All line limits are soft, as in the form expands any section automatically, but if I stick to more or less these limits the briefs will be nice and brief and print, even from the form, on single pages.

CAPTION - 2 lines
FACTS - 5 lines
PROCEDURE - 5 lines
ISSUE - 5 lines
HOLDING - 5 lines
RULE and REASONING - 12 lines
READY FOR FINALS - picklist: no, partly, almost, or yes

The form spits the output into Google Docs, where I organize and pretty up the results. Then I can get to and edit the work from anywhere, e.g. lab computers in the library, my wife's Mac at home, a laptop at a coffeehouse...

Thank you slylives, and again to paintboy. Nerves aplenty woke me early today. My first class is in a bit over five hours. I did the reading, but we shall see. I think that I am most nervous about Murphy for Civ Pro, just because his style is less known and the case we start with (Pennoyer v Neff) was challenging.

As for briefing, I dunno. May try OneNote during class.

William Mitchell / What do/did you use for outlining?
« on: August 15, 2007, 02:58:33 AM »
Thank you, paintboy, regarding briefing. What you wrote jibes with what I've heard.

Regarding exam prep, how early did you - or any 2L/3L reading this - start outlining, what did you use for that, and were any outside sources (e.g. outlines of others) helpful? Did you outline solo, or collaborate? I may use OneNote or just WordPerfect X3 for outlining.


Was it Woody Allen who wrote that a Jewish fetus isn't considered viable until it has graduated from Med or Law school? Not that I know many Jewish people or am particularly interested in starting something ethnic. It's just an old joke that seems apropos to some of the postings here.

Anyhow, having completed my first real assignments for Torts and Contracts, I consider myself a student, sense of entitlement nonexistent. It won't be "real" for another two weeks, until classes start, so flame on. I'll be in the books by then, or chasing a preschooler, and not so much here.

Good luck to all, even to those for whom the feeling may be, or have been, mutual.

Hey all,

I have been assigned to Section One, with Richard Murphy for Civ Pro, Phebe Haugen for Contracts, Marcia Gelpa for Property, Michael Steenson for Torts, and Deborah Schmedemann plus an adjunct for WRAP. I am also curious about Jane Evans, WMCL Staff Attorney for the Minnesota Justice Foundation. MJF seems to be a pretty established and respectable place to get some experience.

Any advice about these people or about MJF would be welcome. I have heard that Haugen has been around for a few decades and is well-liked, though her close coordination with Heidenreich concerns me. Someone recalls that they share materials and styles. I have heard good things about Steenson from a State of MN attorney (my sister-in-law).

I also welcome constructive criticism of my first attempt at case briefing, available at I know that the CAPTION needs adjustment, but the rest of it? I plan to brief in Google Docs so I can quickly bounce back and forth between a Mac and Windows, and to use a website of my own for notes and such.


Hey former participants of this or similar programs,

My school, William Mitchell, offers a 3 or 4 credit summer option to study law in London and, optionally, Edinburgh. This is offered jointly with Case Western, New England, and South Texas. I do not currently plan to do International, but I could be very interested in Criminal, and the four London courses focus on that. Another option is a 3-credit internship there. In either case, the cost per credit is hundreds below what William Mitchell normally charges.

Have you done this? Housing costs may be unusually high for me if my wife and son come, but I imagine that it would be not be much more expensive than what we've paid for other vacations. Does the Acorn work for small families? Is there a famliy-friendly (and pet-free) hotel close by? We could rent a home. It may not really be a vacation for me, per se, but for my family it would be, and might coincide nicely with seeing a nephew in grad school at Oxford.

I am eager to plan finances and family time for next year. My main question is this: if I blow an extra few thousand next summer on this, will those 3 or 4 credits help later? Could I then take fewer credits in my third year and work more? Working my first law school summer may earn me little, but working that third year with a potential future employer would be different, right? I don't mean that pay would be great, but for well-invested time.

Current Law Students / Re: Office 2000 Premium or OpenOffice?
« on: July 12, 2007, 08:15:36 PM »
I like OpenOffice, though higher-end features of Word and Excel might not work, e.g. macros. If you have a Mac, NeoOffice is a custom version of OpenOffice "aquified" to look and work like other Mac apps. Nice and fairly mature, though not as fast or featureful as Office 2004 for OS X. OpenOffice has all the basics, most of the fancy stuff.

As for outlines, maybe OneNote. Much as I dislike Microsoft, that's a cool application. My favorite non-Microsoft academic desktop tool may be WordPerfect, which is still surprisingly good, especially for outlining. It can output to PDF, read and write .doc files just like the latest OpenOffice (more or less), and seems stable and powerful.

However, I worry about my laptop being dropped or stolen, so I may use Google Docs for briefs. It is a far cry from a high-end word processor, but I won't have to worry about backups and can use any computer on the Internet.  Some may worry about privacy or the reliability of the Internet, but I have less faith in the survival of local drives, and I do not plan to blow much time running backups. Also, you can email a doc to a Google account and have it ready to edit later, a possible time saver. I have this briefing form which sends such an email when completed.

I'd like to try the beta of Thinkfree Premium, but they have been slow about responding to my request, and I think it's too new to be counted on. Google Docs is also young, but seems very stable and should serve my purposes.

Current Law Students / Re: Non traditional students.......
« on: June 22, 2007, 07:35:23 PM »
I am a 43-year-old incoming full-time 1L, and the reading load kinda scares me, particularly as I must do most of my share during working hours so I can have time with my wife and young child after dinner. Otherwise, this promises to be much more fun, and potentially more lucrative (not a primary objective), than another 17 years in tech support.

Current Law Students / Re: Respect: Automatic or Earned?
« on: June 22, 2007, 07:30:50 PM »
Mr. Laurel,

I have not yet entirely digested your posts on this topic, but I agree with the gist of the first few paragraphs. Regardless of perspective, you write well and carefully, rarities in the current blogiverse. Thank you. Responses to the substance may follow.

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