Law School Discussion

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Messages - kenpostudent

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41
Big,

I feel your pain, but I disagree with your fundamental premise. Experience may or may not help prepary a new associate. I will agree that law school is fairly impractical and could be far more practical if we made the entire third year nothing but clinics. That would help, but I don't think it would have quite the effect you are seeking. For instance. To become a CPA, you have to work under the supervision of a CPA for two years and peform 1,000 hours of supervised audits (in Nevada, anyway) before you are eligible for licensure. You may take the CPA Exam prior to that, but passing the exam does not confer a license until the apprenticeship forms are turned into the state. I find that newly minted CPAs are not much better than newly minted lawyers. As Morten suggested about law, Accounting is also a very broad field. Most CPAs only work on a small cross-section of clients. Even CPAs at large firms generally have a profile of the types of clients they serve. So, even a new CPA, with two or more years under his belt, is really not much more capable than the graduate fresh out of school. A new CPA has some experience and undoubtedly knows more than the fresh graduate, but they are hardly experts and many would not feel comfortable completing big audits without a supervising CPA or managing partner to review their work.

In law, I would think that it is really not much different. A CPA at an accounting firm probably gets far more exposure to accounting than a new associate at a big firm. So, two years at a big law firm would probably not prepare anyone very much for the practice of law, especially because most new associates do little more than research or due dilligence. At least a non-CPA actually does real audit work or real tax work, albeit under the supervision of a CPA. Law is just too diverse a field to require apprenticeship prior to licensure. Would you suggest a different path for a litigator rather than a transactional attorney?

Can a lawyer fresh out of law school win cases? Absolutely. It has happened. One of the major civil rights cases we studied in Civ Pro was won by two fresh law school graduates. Does is happen often? Probably not. Would more practical education in law school correct this? Maybe, but probably not. Ultimately, trial lawyers have an innate talent that they develop in practice. I don't believe that you can teach someone the presence and the soft skills that make one a successful trial attorney. Either you have it or you don't. I do think that you can probably teach practical skills in law school, but there are so many to teach. Ultimately, you learn on the job. That is really how nearly every profession works. Even doctors and dentists, who have some practical experience in school, don't feel very comfortable when the service their first clients. I actually had a long converation with my dentist about this. He said that it took him 2-3 years to feel comfortable doing his job. I found this to be true in accounting, as well. I don't think law school or any school can ever bridge that gap.

42
Winning a case is not necessarily a measure of a good attorney either. If the evidence is strong, you should win. In the South during the 1930s, a retarded prosecutor could have convicted any black defendant who was accused of a crime against any white victim. Sometimes attorneys get lucky. There is jury nullification, afterall. Besides, the Bar does address practical documents with the MPT.

43
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« on: September 22, 2010, 01:26:59 PM »
I'm a big advocate of having a good outline of a course before you start. Having all of the BASIC legal rules mapped out gives you the ability to read the cases more for nuance than to glean a rule. This allows you to focus on the contours of the rules, which are most likely to be tested on exams, during your basic reading and class prep.

I would not recommend reading cases or treatises prior to law school, though. Get a good commercial outline like Emmanuels or a the Examples & Explanations. Even the Glannon Guide is great. You basically want a broad overview of a subject with some hypos to show you how the material is applied. Make a basic course outline of major themes or rules from this material. This way, you can modify the outline on a weekly basis to incorporate what you actually study in class. The prime advantage of this is that by exam week, you will have memorized your outline from periodic review and the intense review during dead week. I think that is your best prep strategy. By November of your first semester, you want to be working mostly on practice exams. Dead week should be spent almost exclusively on practice exams. If you can do ten practice exams per final, you'll probably get an A or very close. It's just a matter of seeing all the different ways a particular question can be tested and getting practice at analyzing those fact patterns.

Law school exams are alot like fighting: you can know everything there is to know about boxing, but if you don't actually get into the ring and spar, you'll never be a good fighter. Think of class prep as speed bag, heavy bag, or road work. Those things don't make a fighter, but you can't be a fighter without them. They give you the skills necessary to succeed at sparring. Sparring is where you learn to fight. Class prep helps you get the tools to do well on an exam, but class prep alone won't help you on an exam. You'll need to get lots of practice exams in. So, you're prep before a semester should be geared to allowing you to get the most amount of time during the semester to work on practice exams. Having a good outline beforehand will help. Memorizing that outline as you go will help. If you can spend the majority of time in November, outside of what is absolutely necessary for class prep and/or legal writing assignments, on practice exams, you'll be in the best position to succeed on a final exam.

44
General Board / Re: Tortious Intent
« on: September 21, 2010, 10:19:11 AM »
That's the way I understand it.

If you're throwing a ball against a wall, and you're in a completely empty gymnasium or other area with no one around, and it hits someone, there's no tortious intent because you could not reasonably foresee the ball would hit anyone, so A&B would be barred.

What you said about throwing it in a crowd is spot on.

At least, the way I understand all of this anyway.
Foreseeability is a negligence concept. Intent requires either knowledge with substantial certainty that an action will result in harm or purpose to do harm. The ways to establish intent are: 1. knowledge with substantial certainty 2. Purpose to do harm (or no viable purpose for the act other than to do harm, i.e. shooting into the side of a moving train) 3. Lack of consent (medical or sexual assault cases) 4. Inference from actions 5. Transferred Intent.

You cannot have assault or battery without an intent to cause harm or offense; so, throwing the ball at a wall in an empty gymnasium does not reflect an intent to do harm to anyone.

45
General Board / Re: Lawyer-like analysis
« on: September 21, 2010, 10:12:55 AM »
That's an oversimplification. You need to spot a legal issue(s). Then, you need to state a controlling rule of law. Then, you need to state which facts either meet or do not meet the rule. You also need to state the policies behind the rule. Then, you argue the opposite side. However, you are correct in that many legal questions will not have a definitive answer and most will have at least two valid points.

46
General Board / Re: "Studying" in law school
« on: September 20, 2010, 10:39:46 PM »
I suppose your reading schedule can't hurt. If anything, it will help you read faster during the semester. You'll be ahead of your peers.

47
General Board / Re: "Studying" in law school
« on: September 20, 2010, 07:52:08 PM »
I would view the reading that you are doing prior to law school as a good vocabulary lesson, but that is about all you'll get out of it. If you don't apply the material, learning the rules won't help you that much. I can give you the basic rule for battery, but you won't understand it if you don't see how that gets applied under a variety of circumstances. In that sense, the E&E are really good because they demonstrate the application. The Glannon Guides are generally good in that regard, as well. At some point, though, you're going to have to learn how to extract those rules form cases or statutes. You'll also need to learn to synthesize seemingly conflicting cases into a coherent rule. Ultimately, that comes from reading lots of cases.

48
General Board / Re: "Studying" in law school
« on: September 20, 2010, 06:06:22 PM »
You will drive yourself batty trying to extract anything useful from the casebooks by yourself.

I guess I don't have that problem. I can get just what I need out of casebooks. It does help to have some sort of roadmap before a course, though.

49
General Board / Re: "Studying" in law school
« on: September 20, 2010, 04:47:41 PM »
The first thing you're going to have to do is learn how to read and brief cases. Once you have that down, then you can move on to outlining. Then, you can start doing practice exams. To get a good preview of what you'll learn, grab some of the Examples & Explanations for each subject you are taking. Then you can grab a good commerical outline just to see what an example of a good law school outline looks like. Then, the rest is really learned by doing it. I recommend that you learn how to write an exam sooner rather than later in the semester. Maybe ask your professor to give you some hypos that you can use a practice exams.

If you want something to help you from day one, I would say get ahold of an Emmanuel's Outline or an E&E. Either will give you a good overiew of the material you are going to cover.

50
L.L.M. Board / Re: Joint LLM in Taxation/MBA?? Is this even possible?
« on: September 20, 2010, 04:38:50 PM »
I tend to agree with Morten Lund's analysis. School is basically little more than a vocabulary lesson. Because an L.L.M. program is considered more of an academic than a professional degree, I doubt it will be very practical. Law school is not very practical. However, I will say that both tax and securities regulation are very rule-heavy. The familiarity with the rule structure will be helpful. I don't know how helpful familiarity with the tax code or with securities regulatioin will translate into job skills given that both codes change regularly. Generally, I think L.L.M. programs are really designed to make money for law schools. I don't know what value they serve outside of academia.

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