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Messages - dft

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Delaney has formats to write exams that to me make up most of the practical help the book gives.

I didn't find Delaney's formats helpful. I thought that LEEWS was better for the actual exam writing itself. The only thing I found helpful about Delaney's was the general advice that I mentioned in my post above. I've spoken with others who feel that Delaney's was completely useless in comparison to LEEWS. I wouldn't go so far to say that it was completely useless, but I don't think it was that great.

Have you read/done LEEWS and practiced the strategies? If so, I can't imagine that you found Delaney's even close to as helpful as LEEWS.

I think Delaney's Learning Criminal Law by advocacy is also real good for learning how to deal with all exams, not only criminal law exams.  Bascially he writes a blurb explaining something in criminal law, then gives an example of an exam question on the subject, then gives a model answer, and sometimes model answers of what not to do.

Not to come off as hostile here, but I disagree regarding Delaney's Criminal Law book too. I read PLSII and bought pretty much all the books AF recommended. I found Delaney's Crim Law book to be one of the most worthless books I bought for 1L. I found the Crim Law E&E and Gilberts to be much better supplements for Crim Law.

I like Delaney. I think his best book out of all of them is "Learning Legal Reasoning." I would recommend this book for incoming 1L's. It's a very good introduction to case briefing. Even though I don't think case briefing is that important or that helpful in terms of learning the material, this books teaches you how to do it well. It also introduces you to the language used in cases, the way the legal system works, and it provides a brief introduction to jurisprudence, which I found to be very helpful.

I did/read LEEWS, read Delaney's, and read Getting to Maybe (GTM).

Delaney's book is called "How to Do Your Best on Law School Exams." It's decent, as is GTM I would say the two most helpful things that I got from his book were: (1) "tap into" your professor's "analytical frequency," and (2) GET YOUR PROFESSOR'S OLD EXAMS AND WRITE OUT RESPONSES (which is actually a way to accomplish number 1). So that was the basic advice that I took from the book. I didn't get much in terms of actual exam strategy. I got  my exam strategy from LEEWS.

As for GTM, it's good, but not great. I would say Delaney's book and GTM fall significantly below LEEWS on a rating scale in terms of helpfulness in developing your exam-writing ability. I'm not sure which one is better though -- probably Delaney. The most useful advice that I got from GTM was that "there is ambiguity in the law, there should necessarily be some ambiguity in exam questions and in your responses"; hence the title, "Getting to Maybe." They talk about "forks in the law" and "forks in the facts." This way of thinking about exam issues/responses is useful, I think. A fork is basically an issue. They are talking about forks as in forks in the road, where you can go two different ways. An exam response is like this because you can reach two different conclusions and both can be well-reasoned, good answers. They go on to talk about more complex forks ("proliferating forks," or whatever, and various other forks). I don't think this is really helpful. It's just confusing, and I really don't see how it could, on the whole, be beneficial to you on your exam.

While LEEWS is definitely worth your time, I'm not sure GTM and Delaney's are. LEEWS gives you a solid foundation of exam-writing skills. Be sure to adapt the LEEWS technique  in accordance with your preferences and (as I'm sure Delaney would agree with, since he hammers home this message constantly throughout the book) your professor's preferences.

I've also heard that the Law Preview exam-writing course is solid (THE ONE-DAY COURSE, NOT THE WEEK COURSE THAT COSTS LIKE $1000), but I'm not sure it's worth the $120+. My advice to incoming 1L's for exam-writing would be this: at a bare minimum, get the LEEWS manual/primer ($35). If you want to, also attend the live, one-day course/lecture (or Law Preview's live, one-day course). Skip Delaney and GTM, knowing that the basic message from Delaney's is "past exams" and "tap into your prof's frequencies" and the basic message from GTM is there is "ambiguity in the law" and "there should be in your exam answers."

General Board / Re: What supplament to use..? Study Habits...
« on: March 25, 2006, 01:17:31 AM »
you mean supplEments.

i advise doing hypos/past exams. do them open book (at least at first). use a hornbook or commercial outline to assist you because you'll need it until you get a solid grasp of the material.

one word: hypos

General Board / Re: Anybody use ROM Law?
« on: March 24, 2006, 12:56:08 AM »
i agree with katie. they save your ass in class. that's the point of them. not the class participation matters, but you don't look like a feminine hygiene product and they help to keep a good relationship with the prof.

General Board / Re: USNWR Rankings
« on: March 07, 2006, 12:40:15 PM »
but usually some brave LSD or XOXO hero goes to Borders and takes a digital picture of the new rankings around the last week of march.       

so courageous! ha

General Board / Re: Treatises - Probably a stupid question
« on: March 06, 2006, 01:07:23 AM »
In theory I think you are right.

However, what about a hornbook like Calamari and Perillo? I wouldn't be surprised to see a judge cite to that.

Would a judge cite to the E&E's or Gilberts? No.

I'm pretty sure judges have cited to Dressler's "Understanding Criminal Law" though.

The Understanding series might call itself a treatise, but I doubt that most academics would consider it a treatise, and it's still not something you'd cite to. Compare it to Farnsworth or Prosser - it's  whole different ball game. When we went over treatises in Legal Writing, some of the factors are pretty similar to what Lincoln wrote. Treatises (at least the ones that are persuasive) are generally multi-volume sets, they're heavily annotated, your casebooks reference them, and judges have cited to them. You'll also typically want something that's been published in multiple editions because that means it's been around a while. Treatises are also supposed to be more comprehensive than hornbooks. The person who said not to cite to hornbooks is correct from what I understand.

This is the test I use when I want to cite to a secondary source: Would a judge cite to this material? Would a judge cite the Understanding series? Probably not.

However, opinionated law students' comments aside, the best thing to do if you want to cite to a treatise is to speak with a librarian or a professor (in that order).

General Board / Re: Treatises - Probably a stupid question
« on: March 05, 2006, 07:33:56 PM »
hornbooks are not the same as treatises.  Do not ever cite to a hornbook (ie Dressler's Understanding)

From the Lexis Bookstore site:

"This Understanding treatise provides an understanding of the law as well as the values that helped shape it."

I think there's a tendency to use hornbook and treatise interchangeably, but I think it's probably technically incorrect.

General Board / Re: Treatises - Probably a stupid question
« on: March 04, 2006, 10:37:26 PM »
I am slightly confused on what sources are considered treatises.

Is Matthew Bender Series off of Lexis Nexis considered a treatise?

Can someone name me some treatises?

I think the Matthew Bender series is basically the same as the "Understanding" series.

Dressler's "Understanding Criminal Law" is a treatise. From this, we can infer that the rest of the "Understanding Series" by Lexis/Matthew Bender are treatises.

I'm pretty sure treatises are basically the same as hornbooks.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think treatises are used more often to refer to books for practitioners, while hornbooks are supposed to be geared more towards law students.

But Dressler referred to his Understanding book as a treatise on his audio CDs, and that is more of a study aid or hornbook, so I think they are all very similar.

General Board / Re: Journal Competition time
« on: March 04, 2006, 10:31:01 PM »
Is there any way to prepare for the competition before hand to increase your chances of succeeding in the competition?

I'm thinking like a way to get ahead of classmates if possible. I guess this wouldn't reall be possible.

How about reading materials? I have the Fajans and Falk book so I'll read that. I may check out the Volokh book as well. Any other suggestions?

How do I convince my Lexis and WestLaw representatives to let me keep my access over the summer for the write-on?

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