Law School Discussion

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Messages - Benjamin

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11
Duquesne U / Re: anyone attending?
« on: August 01, 2005, 07:49:41 PM »
Does anyone know when we get assigned our "littles"?

12
General Board / Re: I don't think I got on Law Review...
« on: July 21, 2005, 04:04:50 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.

13
Duquesne U / Re: Getting a Job
« on: July 14, 2005, 09:17:05 AM »
After talking to Tom I have been thinking about BI, what do you like about it?

14
Duquesne U / Re: anyone attending?
« on: July 03, 2005, 12:53:45 PM »
Goldband is just nice to me because I gave him some peanut M&Ms in the library.  Ever since he has called me a gentleman and a scholar.  Crazy New York people I guess. 


Summer has been cool, I will have to tell you about some of the cases I have been working on.  Did you guys like Batman?

15
Duquesne U / Re: anyone attending?
« on: June 30, 2005, 05:37:10 PM »
Sarah,

Who said that Hirsch is a bore obsessed with sodomy, I don't even recall discussing sodomy at all this past year?  I have to disagree about him being confused too, at least in Crim. 

As for the library, they say that they close at midnight... but then there is a sign that says they close 15 minutes early every night, so really they close at 11:45.  But then, since they nominally close at 11:45, they actually start closing before 11:45.  Once 11:30 rolls around, depending on who is working, there is a fair chance they will start flashing you dirty looks.  One closing worker in particular used to tell me at 11:30, every night that he was there, "the library is closing in 15 minutes".  As if I did not know, or as if I was not sitting in front of a giant clock.  Hopefully the student staff this year will be more classy than some of the staff last year.


Enjoydavid, is that Goldband or Ringlaben? 

I would add something to the advice that you should be confident and not affraid of the professors.  It is good advice, professors can smell fear and will be all over you if seem weak.  Plus, you are paying a lot of money to go to law school, and you shouldn't be affraid or embaressed to directly address the things you don't understand.  The reason you, and the professors, are at law school is to learn/teach a new way of thinking. 

However, DO NOT mistake confidence for arrogance.  While frightening students can be fun for some professors, even if not fun for the student,  wasting class time makes professors spitting angry.  My point is this, if you get called on, or raise your hand, and you are confused or unprepared or otherwise do not know what you are talking about, confidence in those situations means being straight up, and graciously recognizing there is something you need to learn. 

The right way:

Mr. Firstyear, if there was a battery in Pearson v. Dodd, why isn't there a battery when I accidently pull the trigger (Torts Prof) 

I still do not see the difference as to why the intent element of battery is met in sitation A, but not B, how can there be intent if the defendant did not mean to hurt anyone? (You)

(The class is thinking, "whew, I am not the only one who doesn't get this".  The prof is thinking that Duquesne was right to admit you, you aren't scared to let your mouth slow down while your brain catches up, he will feel more compelled to do his best in educating the class)

Mrs. Oneelle, tell us about Gruen v. Gruen (Property Prof)

Contracts took me all night yesterday, I only had time to skim the case, I appologize and will try to balance my time more effectively (You)

(The class and prof understand, they have been there themselves at some point.  They have some compassion, and some respect that you had the balls and courtesy to just lay it on the table)

Mr. Firstyear, you have a question (Torts Prof)

Yeah, if the Defendant took every precaution, how does it serve the interest of justice to take money from him, how does law and economics outweigh the seeming unfairness of the judgment in this case (You) 

(Half the class is thinking the same thing, they are glad you asked, they are hoping the prof will address the question instead of continuing to beat around the Socratic bush.  Some of them might even come up after class and let you know that you took the question right out of their mouth.  The prof will think, "ok, they are starting to get it, at least enough to ask the pertinent question point blank, I think they are primed and ready for me to explain the answer more directly")


Arrogance is:

Mr. Firstyear, if there was there a battery in Pearson v. Dodd, why isn't there a battery when I accidently pull the trigger and it wounds your dog(Torts Prof)

He did not mean to harm anyone, thats what I think intent should mean, so he shouldn't have to pay, I think any rule otherwise is just wrong (You)

(The prof will ask you whether you think the other 70+ people in the class are there to learn what you think the law ought to be, or to learn the very difficult concept they spent hours studying last night)

Mrs. Oneelle, tell us about Gruen v. Gruen (Property Prof)

I thought this case was confusing, which part did you want me to talk about cause I didnt get it, I know that .... (begins reading the case from the book substantially verbatim to the class) (You)

(The class will cringe, everyone who is prepared will resent you for pretending and slowing the class to a snail's pace, the prof will think you are either an idiot or a joker, don't expect to get called on next time you have a question)


Mr. Firstyear, you have a question (Torts Prof)

Yeah, I don't think that law and economics can be a basis for imposing liability on a corporation because you can't take their money if they haven't done anything wrong

(The prof will likely respond by telling you that you have not asked a question, and no one cares about your oppinion because it is clear YOU haven't grasped law and economics at all)



I am sure that I was guilty of arrogance at times, but it helps to try and keep the difference in mind, and remember who is the teacher and who is the student when you talk.  (Except with Krasik, j/k) 



16
Duquesne U / Re: anyone attending?
« on: June 23, 2005, 10:31:12 PM »
You might as well get a parking pass first chance you get, because you are going to want one for sure.  I doubt you will get shut out, I didn't hear of anyone who was last year, but no reason to chance it. 

As for them not being sure whether to support Macs, I would suggest that this is exactly the time to take a proactive approach, for two reasons.  First, the laptop test taking at Duquesne is in its infancy, so it is more likely to be influenced by strong demand from the students.  Although some people had glitches, tons of people far and away preferred the laptops.  I know that I was able to do better than I otherwise would have.  They have every reason to expand the program.  Second, we are getting a new Dean this year, and he espouses himself to be concerned about increasing our appeal to, and accommodation of, the students.  This is exactly the sort of thing that he might make the executive decision to mandate if he is informed about the effect it will have in a) saving students money if they already have Macs; b) helping encourage students to attend who would otherwise change their minds if they realize they can go to a comparable school that does allow Macs for exams; and c) immediately helping make exams, an already hectic and stressful experience, more convenient for current and incoming students. 

As for your impression of Duquesne so far, everything is going to be relative to where you came from before.  I myself went to Ohio State as an undergrad, so I was used to a lot of bureaucracy; Duquesne hasn't been perfect in that department, but it has been much better than OSU. 

The nice thing about Duquesne, at least for my class last year, is that there was an atmosphere of encouragement and assistance for your fellow classmate.  People were competitive, and cared where they finished, but not at the expense of being cooperative and good-willed.  I doubt most schools were similar.  I think that, as a result, our whole class benefited psychologically and educationally. 

I donít know if they will keep the instructors the same for the different sections, but I can give a little background on them.  They will soon rule your world, so you would be justified if you are curious.

Professor Strieb is the Torts professor.  He went to school at the same time as one of the Criminal Profs, Mistick.  I think he was a prof when Professor Rago, another Crim prof, was a student at Duquesne.  He will probably intimidate students the most at the beginning of the year, but he is very good.  He has a very organized and effective way of teaching, he knows how to do the Socratic method correctly.  He is also the trial advocacy coach (along with Professor Antkowiak who doesn't teach first years), so if think you might be interested in being a trial lawyer, keep that in mind.  His grading is 50% midterm, 50% final.  His tests are 50% weighted for multiple choice, 30 questions, -2 for a wrong answer, +5 for a right answer, and 0 for an unanswered question.  50% essay.  The final is comprehensive.  He does not keep any exams on file.  His counterpart is professor Brown-Barbour, a female.


Professor Jordan is the Property Professor.  People are very love/hate with her.  I got along very well with her, she is also not afraid to tell you exactly how she feels in class.  The thing to keep in mind with her is that she actually cares how you do, even though she might try to tell you otherwise, so make the most of it.  She will use index cards and call on people based on the cards.  Both of Streib and Jordan will call you out early on if you are unprepared.  Her grading is 1/3 mid-term, 2/3 final. The Property final is not comprehensive.  There will be multiple choice, and essay, and some problems that in a format unique to property law. Her counterpart is Professor Spyke, a female. She does not keep any exams on file.  She also teaches Tax (so the 2Ls will have her again this year). 

Professor Pelaez is the Contracts professor.  He is involved with the China study abroad program.  He is about 70yrs old, he went to Yale, and I think he might have studied under Arthur Corbin, who you will learn was a major player in the world of contracts about 50yrs ago.  He will go very very slow at first, but he will start moving through the material at quite a clip after the first few months.  He wont call on anyone unless they are volunteering, and he will have all sorts of humorous characters to explain the law.  His midterm from past years is on file, it will vary in a few details each year, but will be essentially the same scenario each year.  The mid-term counts very little, he has said that if you do better on the final that he will disregard the mid-term, and if you do worse on the final, the midterm will not help much.  His counterpart is Professor Murray, a male, who is a major player at the school, and in the world of contracts.  He (Murray) has a treatise, and is cited by a lot of the study aids used by students around the country, such as Emmanuelís. 

Professor Hirsch is a crim law professor, I think he was an instructor at Duquesne when Profs Streib, Mistick, and Rago were students.  Hirsch is the most methodical speaker and thinker of all the professors.  He talks very slowly, and his voice modulation is kind of dry at first.  However, more than any other professor, he listens to what you say very very well, and doesnít say anything by accident.  If you have a question or a comment, you can rest assured that he will give the question serious thought before positing an answer.  He is pretty understanding if a student is unprepared.  His midterm is worth about 1/3, the final about 2/3.  It will be all essay questions, and you will get a copy of several Pennsylvania statutes, you are supposed to only use the statutes given to answer the questions.  A lot of students say you cant really study for his exam.  I think that is sort of true, but you can practice for his exam.  If you listen to him, he will tell you exactly how he thinks a law exam answer should be laid out.  If you use that format, and if you are able to master statute interpretation, and you are able to recognize that each fact is in his hypothetical for some particular reason, then you can do well on his test.  His counterparts are Professors Mistick and Rago, both males. 

Professor Rodes was the editor for Harvard Law Review mentioned by an earlier poster.  She taught (not sure if she is returning) one of the 8 (I think) sections of research and writing.  The grading is comprised of a number of assignments.  The professor are supposed to have a similar syllabus in that class from section to section, but there is a lot of concern among students that the writing profs do not all stick to the same rules.  Rodes will make you do a lot, lot, lot of work.  In the end you are probably better off, but it will be a test, especially early on.  Rodes will give you much more feedback than other professors, and she will not sugar-coat her criticism, which is also probably better in the end, but difficult at first.  She will get you back your assignments promptly, unlike many of the profs.  Kwisnek, who doubles as a the head of career services, also has a reputation for being somewhat difficult, and a tough grader.  Pelligrini has the reputation of being the easiest grader, but gives, so I am told, the least useful criticism.  Even though there is a point value attached to each assignment, one way or another, the final assignment, an appellate brief, seems to determine the grade. 

The former Dean, Cafardi, taught me legal process and procedure.  He was excellent, but will not be there for next year (but I think he will return to teach in 2006).  The other legal process and procedure professor is Barker, he has a reputation as being very hostile to students, but I have never spoken to him, or heard him say anything.  I think a lot of the 2Ls will have him for Constitutional Law.  Legal process is 1 semester, first semester.

Professor Krasik was my Civ pro professor.  She will pick one student each class to talk to for the whole class.  This makes it very hard to pay attention in her class.  Civil procedure is one semester, second semester.  Professor Barker was her counterpart also. 

So much for this long long post

17
Duquesne U / Re: anyone attending?
« on: June 22, 2005, 11:34:40 PM »
I also just finished my first year at Duquesne.  I am happy to provide any insight or advice that I can.

Shadyside is the place where the young professionals hang out.  A good number of Duquesne law students live there.  The most students live in the southside flats and southside slopes.  Southside is a bit more hoppin, but Shadyside is more intimate and comfortable, and it is easier to get a few people together for drinks there, especially if you can walk back to your apartment.  The views are prettier in the Southside.  Southside is within walking distance of campus.  More cute girls in Shadyside, but more Bohemian and artsy types in Soutside.

Shady Grove is a cool bar by the way.

Squirrel Hill has a lot of very expensive family homes, but I dont know why a student would want to rent there; there isnt much to do and the traffic can be pretty bad.

As was stated before, Oakland is Pitt campus. If you are comming from a big school (I came from Ohio State), you might feel comfortable there.

Mt. Washington has some really pretty views, and the commute is pretty quick most of the time.

The Northside has some bad parts of town, but it has the most extreme hills, scenic views, and secluded hillsides of any place within site of downtown, if that is what you are into.  I really had a thing for places in the northside, but I do not think many, if any, Duquesne law students live there.   

No matter what, don't live in Wilkinsburg.

I lived in the dorms last year... it had some major downsides, but some upsides too.  Downsides: 1. expensive; 2. unknown roomate risk; 3. small rooms; 4. difficulty bringing in guests; forced to get a meal plan.  Upsides: 1. Countless hot undergrads everywhere; 2. No commute; 3. less distractions from school during the all-important first year; 4. less distractions from school during the all-important first year; 5. less distractions from school during the all-important first year.   



I will be living in Shadyside with another Duquesne 2L this comming year... for $250 a month :)

As for laptops... Duquesne 1L is split up into two sections, A & B.  I cant say for sure about section B, but Section A was way more than 50% laptop users, I would estimate 75% - 85%.  I suspect that number is the same in Section B, and will be bigger next year.  Some rooms have outlets for every student, others do not.  Your schedule will probably put you in both types of rooms in any given day, so you will have enough battery charged up to get you through the classes with no outlets.  Way more than 30% of students used laptops in the final exam, I would say more than 50%.  Mac users kinda got *&^% on this year for exams, I would have complained if I had a Mac.  But Macs work fine on the wireless network, which gets a solid signal in all the classrooms and the library. 



Do you all know who your professors are yet?  Section A last year had Streib, Pelaez, Jordan, Cafardi, Krasik, and I had Hirsch for Crim and Rodes for Writing.

WAxlRose2 on AIM if you have questions :)

18
Duquesne U / Re: going to Duquesne
« on: August 08, 2004, 10:35:23 AM »
Is anyone else staying in the dorm?


19
General Board / Re: Law school admission with criminal record
« on: August 06, 2004, 05:57:38 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. 

20
Duquesne U / Re: How much to budget for books?
« on: August 03, 2004, 11:34:38 AM »
I just spoke with the law school.  They said $1000 for the year, $500 for the semester.  They said that would include enough to cover a selection of study aids. 

Thank you for your response Jackie.  These were the figures I was guessing but I really wanted to have them confirmed so I can make my budget with confidence.  This will be my first time truly living on a fixed income.  It seems especially important to plan it out well.

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