Law School Discussion

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Messages - kenpostudent

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61
General Board / Re: does anyone have any essay exam writing help/advice?
« on: August 20, 2010, 02:34:13 AM »
Use every fact in the fact pattern. It's probably there for a reason. Facts generate legal issues. If someting happens in a fact pattern, there is probably an issue that your professor wants you discuss. Argue both sides of every issue, where reasonable and as time permits. Make sure you link each fact back up to the rule you stated. Don't be conclusory. Show how the facts lead to a particular legal result and weave the policy objectives into your answer to justify your conclusion.

62
General Board / Re: LS = figuring out your professor???
« on: August 20, 2010, 02:30:16 AM »
I agree. You are not taking the course, you are taking the professor. I don't think this means parroting their pet views or regurgitating their ideas. I do think this means analyzing a fact pattern in a way that is easy for them to understand your analysis and conclusions. I would recommend visiting your professor during his/her office hours and asking them to discuss some practice exam answers with you. My professors have all done so with me. That will help you get a feel for what kind of analysis they prefer. I've never had a professor turn down this request.

63
General Board / Re: Best "canned" case briefs?
« on: August 20, 2010, 02:25:38 AM »
NONE. Do you own case briefs. Here is my template:

Issue: the issue statement incorporates relevant facts and the reason the case is before the court. I state it in the form of a question. Example: Does the payment of a pre-existing debt to another creditor constitute a fraudulent conveyance as to a lien creditor?

Holding: this answers the questions. Example: No.

Reasoning: this section includes policies, collateral rules, and relevant dicta. Policies are the practical objectives of the court. Collateral rules consist of precedent cases, statutes, or model acts upon which the court based its decision. Relevant dicta are statement made by the court that don't fall within the other two categories.

Rule: this is how the case will be used in the future. Example: A fraudulent conveyance is a tranfer of funds or assets by a debtor to another when he is insolvent and with the intent to divert payment from a creditor. The burden of proof rests with the creditor to prove intent to defraud and insovency of the debtor.

Exceptions and Expansions: this section covers the cases in the notes after the major case that either create exceptions to or expansions of the rule found in the main case.

If there is a Dissent or Concurrence, I summarize that part of the case in one sentence.

A case brief should generally be 4-6 sentences. I hope this helps.

64
General Board / Re: A typical law school class session?
« on: August 20, 2010, 02:17:31 AM »
I guess it depends on whether or not your professor uses the Socratic Method and how in-depth they discuss cases. I've had professors who do not use the socratic method and only teach from powerpoints. I've had professors who call on one or two people the entire class and other professors that bounce around the room randomly. Some professors parse out the minute details of cases. I've had other professors that never discuss one case but only discuss broad rules and spend the class presenting hypos.

Generally, class time is low value. I don't think most class sessions add much to your exam performance, at least not in my experience. I have found that the preparation is important to learn the black-letter law, while class time fleshes out the contours of the law. If you don't prep well, class time will be of absolutely no value. If you prep well, you'll probably get one or two nuggets out of each class. Generally, I pay attention to the hypos that professors present and how they change the hypos during the course of the class. Those are previews to your exam.

65
General Board / Re: Commercial Outlines
« on: August 20, 2010, 02:08:38 AM »
Really, I only like the Examples & Explanations. Other than that, I create my own outlines. If you can get them, BarBri Outlines will cover major concepts, but they tend to be too long. I don't think you need to pay for an outline, though. You can usually find decent outlines on the internet for free written by professors. I wouldn't trust anything blindly that I got off the internet, but you can vet it against a treatise. A good outline that you find online will serve as a roadmap to your course and a starting point for your own outline based on your course and your professor's preferences.

66
General Board / Re: Best way to outline for a course?
« on: August 20, 2010, 02:03:32 AM »
100 page outline? 30 page outline? Really? If your outline is more than 10 pages and the exam is NOT open book, it is worthless. You need an outline taht you can memorize. You really can't effectively memorize more than 10 pages. I would recommend grabbing some treatises really good supplements. Look at the table of contents of those treatises and compare that to your syllabus. Where the areas overlap, draft an outline around the main points. Add the big ideas to your outline. I use this initial outline (which generally takes a weekend to complete, within the first week of the course) as a roadmap. I use it to familiarize myself with important concepts so I know what is important so I can spot those concepts in cases very quickly. Then, on a weekly basis, I update my outline for what I learn in the courses. Generally, I have to revise the outline once a month because it's very difficult to synthesize rules without seeing the big picture. It takes about a month to complete a module, sometimes more or less. When a module is complete (i.e. character evidene say for evidence or Perfection for secured transactions), I synthezise the rules for that section and revise the outline around those sythesized rules. My weekly reviews generally just incorporate the material for that week and class notes (which are sparse, I don't believe in taking copious notes in class because so little of what is said in class is relevant to an exam; the more you write, the more you have to eventually wade through). This gives me two important advantages: 1. I review and memorize my outline throughout the semester, so by the time dead week rolls around, I know my outline like my right hand knows my male private part; 2. I try to stay at least a week ahead of my reading, so, by the time the last week of class rolls around, I'm not preparing for class, but instead doing practice exams. An extra week of practice exams is incredibly helpful.

Generally, my outlines consist of sythesized rules, one to two sentence case summaries, exceptions to and expansions of rules, policy objectives, and relevant facts and hypos that illustrate rules. Again, let me reiterate, my outlines are generally no more than 10 pages, UNLESS the exam is open book, in which case I annotate the outline and create a table of contents for quick use. I then take the 10 page outline and condense that down to a one-page attack outline during the two days before an exam. Basically, that outline consists of words or phrases to spark my memory to my larger outline or a strategy for how to analyze a question on a particular issue. That has worked very well.

67
General Board / Re: Why does everyone think 1L is so hard?
« on: May 11, 2010, 03:56:58 PM »
I'm not that smart, so if its easy for me why all the bitching is what I'm trying to ask.
I think that people like to pretend that its hard to create a "war story" to brag to others about how hard it was and how great they are for surviving it. I took a long bunnies the other day but that dosn't make me a hero for wipeing my ass after it. With all the crybabies out there I just assumed there'd be more to it is all. Basicly you show up and you pass. A JD seems to be a participation award.

Basically, I agree with you; law school is not nearly as hard as people make it out to be, at least for me. I got straight As my first semester. I hope to repeat the feat this semester. I think some people really struggle because they study inefficiently. The key is to boil everything down to the essential rules and memorize those so you can recite them in your sleep. If you have spent the semester doing that, you can focus on hypos and practice exams while you study for finals. If you do 100s of actual hypos and 10-15 practice exams before the final, you're probably in good shape for the final.

Remember, though, none of this has anything to do with being a lawyer. Law school is totally different from practice. In practice, you'll face a whole new set of challenges. Law school is just meant to prep you for the bar (more for bar prep) and teach you to think like a lawyer.

68
Where should I go next fall? / Re: UNLV 1L Taking Questions....
« on: April 21, 2010, 12:25:17 PM »
Lots of classmates work for or are seeking employment with the casinos. There are several classes on gaming law because the Gaming Control Board is a major employer. There is even a gaming law journal. However, none of that really interests me.

69
Where should I go next fall? / Re: UNLV 1L Taking Questions....
« on: March 19, 2010, 11:58:16 AM »
I really don't gamble. So, I can't help you there.

70
Where should I go next fall? / Re: UNLV 1L Taking Questions....
« on: March 11, 2010, 12:13:05 PM »
1. Vegas can be very distracting, especially for people who just move here. I've lived here for 9 years and pretty much have done it all, so, I put aside the night life and study. Many of my classmates have trouble, though. I mean, clubs are open 24 hours and nearly every gas station has slot machines. If you have an addictive personality, you can get into alot of trouble here. I think most people find a balance at some point, though.

2. The heat can be bad. It takes getting used to. In the dead of summer, temperatures top 115 F. If you drink plenty of water, you'll be fine. It does get exhausting, though. I didn't have much trouble because I was in the Marines and stationed at 29 Palms where it was 130 F. So, I don't mind the heat so much. It is important to limit your exposure to the heat at first and slowly acclimate if you're not from a similar climate.

3. The professors here are awesome. They will help you in any way possible. Not only are they availabe for office hours and happy to help at virtually any time, just about every professor gives you their cell and home number so you can call them if you have questions. The professors all take your success very personally. They do their best to make sure you understand the material.

4. The facilities are all new and very nice (ten year old, new for law schools, anyway). We have a large moot court facility (the 9th Circuit just held oral arguments here last week). The library is large and comprehensive. The classrooms are state-of-the-art. Whether or not the upkeep continues as a result of drastic budget cuts is another matter. However, the facilities are great now.

5. I chose UNLV because they gave me the best scholarship and because I built relationships with a few professors that I really like. My choices were Florida Coastal, LSU, UNLV, and Arizona. Part of my decision was that I live here and that I would not have to incur moving expenses. However, I really felt the faculty here is top notch. I was right. Not only are the professors very knowledgeable and helpful, many are experts in their respective fields. My crim law professor is one of the most respected professors in the field, for example. Also, Boyd strongly emphasizes legal writing. We take three required legal writing courses. In addition, we have a thesis requirement. Boyd graduates are some of the best legal writers in the west. Because writing is so important to the profession, that was a huge selling point.

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