Law School Discussion

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - SplitFinger

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 ... 107
General Off-Topic Board / Re: The "DONE WITH FINALS!!!!" Club
« on: May 12, 2008, 07:18:32 AM »
I'm in.  Graduation starts in 75 minutes, and once we get this year's 3Ls sent off, I'll officially be in my last year of law school.

I'll be a bit of a contrarian here.   This is what worked for me, but attempt it at your own risk:

Don't outline.  At all.

Here's my story:  1L year I outlined religiously, had a great study group (the other two people in my group both made the flagship journal), did all the crap you were supposed to do.  At the end, my grades were only so-so.  So this year I pretty much said screw it and just studied the way I always did before I got to law school.  In the fall I was well above the cutoff for top 10% for my class for the semester, and I'm feeling pretty good about this semester too.

That being said, I think this will only work if you take really good class notes.  I do not transcribe.  I only write down the important stuff as it comes up.  For every case we go over, I write down the case, court, and year of the decision, a line with a quick summary of the facts so I can remember which case it was, and then whatever was important about it.  I usually end up with 40-50 pages of notes over the course of the whole semester.  Then before the exam I go over what we covered and read the appropriate chapters out of a good hornbook, and supplement my notes with stuff from the hornbook.  Print them out, tab them for quick reference, and take the exam.

I also may try to get a good outline from someone else who took the class previously, and I'll try to check both my notes and the outline whenever I feel the need to look something up.  That depends on how confident I feel about my notes - some professors do screwy things that make it difficult to take good notes in their classes (no laptops allowed, giving out preprinted copies of their lecture notes that turn out to be more questions than answers, crap like that).

Your mileage may vary.  But my advice is to do what works for you, and don't get caught up in the need to do what everyone else does if it's not the way that you learn effectively.  By now you should have a good idea of what works for you.  Don't abandon that completely because of what the people around you are doing.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: ITT 1L's give 0L's suggestions for next year
« on: May 12, 2008, 05:31:57 AM »
It's been my experience that once you get past 1L hell, most of the hide-the-ball nonsense goes away.  Even when the profs use the Socratic method, it's done in such a way that you understand what the correct answer is at the end of it.  It's not nearly so annoying that way.

I wonder if other people people have noticed the same thing.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Is a Laptop Computer Necessary?
« on: May 08, 2008, 12:10:54 PM »
Yes, you need a laptop.  It doesn't have to be particularly nice.  Something basic that will get you online (to get emails, course materials, Lexis/Westlaw) and a copy of MS word (or something that can read/write MS word format files) is all you need, but you do need it.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: ITT 1L's give 0L's suggestions for next year
« on: May 08, 2008, 12:05:16 PM »
That said, for the 0Ls, figure out the way you can learn and understand the different material best, and then try to sync that up with the way each of your profs teach.

I may be repeating myself, but one thing I've found is that you already know how to study.  If you got this far, then you probably already know the way that works best for you.  Don't feel pressured to study the "law school way" if that's totally different than what's been successful for you in the past*.  My first year I did outlines, study groups, the whole nine yards, and it just didn't work for me.  This year I abandoned all that stuff and just studied the way I've always studied and it was much more effective.

(* - Unless, of course, your strategy in the past has been to memorize and regurgitate - that won't be very helpful when you're faced with the typical law school exam.)

Incoming 1Ls / Re: ITT 1L's give 0L's suggestions for next year
« on: May 01, 2008, 10:11:32 AM »
If it would make me enough bank to pay off my loans, I'd be willing to get them tattooed on my ass.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: ITT 1L's give 0L's suggestions for next year
« on: April 30, 2008, 11:45:02 PM »
I'm one more question on one take-home exam away from being a 3L (thank God), so I don't really qualify, but what the hell...

I completely agree that outlining is vastly overrated.  If you take good notes in class (not stenography, but listening to what the professor says and writing down the important stuff)(the more Socratic the professor, the harder this is) then that should be all you need to study for the final.  Read it, know it, put tabs on it by topic so you can find it in a hurry.  I wish I could get back all the hours I spent outlining as a 1L, what a complete waste of time.

Even so, in required classes, it's good to have an outline.  But not yours - get a good one from a 2L or 3L.  One of the best reasons to get involved in organizations (and pick one, maybe two, and get involved - you won't have time for more than that) is so that you can meet upperclassmen who had your professors last year or the year before.  They are gold mines of information and good outlines.  Go through it, tab it just like you did with your class notes, and know how to find the stuff in it. 

Hornbooks are your best friend.  My wife - who got her JD years ago - recommended them to me and I blew her off, thinking that I'd never have time to read them in addition to all the reading I was doing for class.  I wised up this year - get a good hornbook for your class (ask the professor which one he recommends, that's usually a good suggestion) and stick it on the shelf.  If you get confused about something during the semester, pull it out and look it up and you probably won't be confused any more.  When you are preparing for the exam, read the sections that address the topics you covered in class and use them to supplement the notes that you took in class.  The hornbook will tell you what the correct tests are for each issue - that should already be in your notes, but more than once I discovered that I'd written it down wrong when I was getting it in class, or I'd mixed something up.  Buy them used online, but don't get editions that are too old (believe it or not, the law does evolve over the years even in the hoary old core subjects).

Don't be a butthead.  There's really nothing to be gained by acting like a jerk, so be nice.  It will pay dividends down the road.

Share your notes.

Find a passion for something, whether it is journal, moot court, mock trial, a club, whatever.  Volunteer.  Be a leader in it.  It will be a pain in the ass more often than not, but it will help keep you sane.

Get the hell out of the law school as often as possible.

Get to know the deans, professors, and staff.  Say hello.  Make conversation.  The time will come when you will want to ask them for favors, and it will help if you know them and they know you.  You don't have as much control over your grades as you'd like to think you do, but you have lots of control over your reputation.  In the long run, your reputation will get you a lot farther than your law school grades will.  Start working on it now.  You'll be glad you did, and it really doesn't take any effort.

Try to see the humor in things.  Remember that almost everything that happens in law school has an element of the absurd to it.  If you can keep smiling at that, it'll help you get through it with your sanity intact.

Eat good food.  But not too much of it.

If you have to go up or down one floor, take the stairs.

Go outside and look at the stars every now and then.

Try to keep your house/apartment/room relatively neat.  You'll feel more organized if the things that surround you look organized.

When you get a chance, take useful classes.  Try to avoid classes with closed-book exams.

There's more, but I'm going to finish this exam if it kills me.  Best of luck next year to all.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Emory Class of 2011
« on: April 17, 2008, 02:55:20 PM »
I live pretty close to there - enough that I drive through most of it at various times - and I think the only problems you're likely to have are if you're trying to come home right during rush hour.  Even so, it wouldn't be that bad, and there are some shortcuts you can take.

Current Law Students / Re: My Advice to Incoming 1L's
« on: August 18, 2007, 11:41:49 PM »
realize that grades are everything. do well first year. do very well.

Not only that, but they are assigned pretty much randomly. 

Current Law Students / Re: Legal Writing Grade
« on: December 27, 2006, 09:25:37 AM »
How common is it for Legal Writing to be graded these days?  It is at my school (Emory), but it used to be pass/fail up until a few years ago.  My instructor claims that most schools are moving towards making it graded, and I wondered how much of that was BS and how much of it was accurate.

Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 ... 107