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Messages - gzl

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Incoming 1Ls / Re: Computer Shopping
« on: June 11, 2009, 12:23:26 AM »
I love my netbook (a dell mini 9) and I hate heavy computers, even 4lbs is heavy to me, but I can handle it for short trips (like exams). I'm also cheap, so option 1 really appeals to me. But I'm concerned about whether my netbook is enough computer for exams.


I love my netbook (chose the HP one because the keyboard was a bit larger, 92% of actual size. Could have gotten a more powerful Dell for the money though.)  It's great for taking notes in class, and because I bike alot, it's perfect for my backpack.  I can't stand it for exams though.  After three hours the smaller keyboard and screen become a big issue for me. Tired fingers make time-consuming typos on that smaller keyboard and tired eyes make the screen seem that much smaller.  I bring in my full-size laptop for exams now, having learned after the first exam that the netbook didn't cut it.

The only concern with Macs is: make sure your school has Mac-compatible testing software.  Mine didn't last semester and a couple students were stuck hand-writing their exams.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Advice from a guy who just finished his first year
« on: June 10, 2009, 12:28:02 AM »
Forgive my ignorance, and I say this with absolutely no intentions of being a flame, but what advantage would something like Westlaw have over Wikipedia?  I am not familiar at all with Westlaw, but I know that you can read pretty much everything about every major case on Wikipedia.  Granted, I realize there is a large caveat (that being that information can be modified by users and is subject to errors), but still... it seems pretty reliable.

Westlaw will help over wiki in a couple of different ways

Generally speaking, when you're given a case in class, it's because of a very specific issue or two that the case addresses.  Sometimes, they will be sneaky and give you a case where one of the supposedly "minor" issues is what they want you to look at, the kind of thing Wiki won't always address.  Or give a 'history' case that's not major enough to find its way onto wiki, but shows how the law has evolved on a specific issue.

One of the most time-consuming parts of briefing is slogging through all the stuff that's irrelevant *to the class* that you're briefing it for, especially in some nightmare 20 page decision.  Westlaw provides a handy short cut.  You can find the case, and get it as a 'headnote' outline.  The headnotes describe what that part of the opinion is dealing with.  You find the ones that deal with whatever specific issue you're looking for ("novation" in business orgs or something like that) and it will take you directly to that part of the opinion. 

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Advice from a guy who just finished his first year
« on: June 07, 2009, 11:34:34 PM »
I just finished my first year of law school and I have some advice that I wish someone would have shared with me before I started.

Law school is about hard work. It really doesn't matter how high you scored on the LSAT. Be prepared to bust your ass. Most of you probably already knew this but I think it needs to be said because a lot of people are used to getting by on intelligence alone and that really doesn't happen in law school.

However, there are a lot of short cuts that you can take advantage of if you still want to have a life outside of school. In most of your classes, if you study the way the profs tell you to study, you'll be stuck reading all day long.

You should probably read all of your assigned cases in the first couple of weeks just to see if you like studying that way. If you find that you are pressed for time and you just want to concentrate on what you have to learn for the test, then buy the case briefs. They will save you hours of time every day. In addition, you'll be concentrating on the material that you have to know for the exam. So you basically study more efficiently. In addition to the case briefs, you should get yourself a good comercial outline that will use simple language to explain the concepts that you need to know for the exam. I use crunchtime but most of the others are also pretty good. 

If you do follow my advice, you can do great in law school and still have a life outside of it. 


I just have to sound my own note of caution here.  Be careful of the commercial outlines, some profs pride themselves on exams that weed out those who use such.  There are still some easy short cuts though.  Westlaw is your friend.  Even when you can't use "brief it," you can usually find the relevant parts of a case's decision with the right search terms.  Used properly, Westlaw can cut material-slogging time by 1/3-2/3.

Hi Gonzo,

It's hard to communicate accurately over the web, and I apologize for dragging you along with me in my imperfect quest. :D But it seems like I've finally demonstrated what I have been trying to say all along.

The disturbing thing about this is this isn't the only question of this type in which the above error is committed. There are literally examples strewn front to back that seem to fall trap to this error. I spent the afternoon today just trying to figure out why such errors keep recurring in their book. If you have the newer edition (I have the webcom edition, as I stated), do you recall encountering such problems?

Thanks much (again),

Wish I could help.  I've never seen their materials before.  In MOST actual LSAT games like this, they happen to be right: the set up usually makes only one element per slot possible, so you can eliminate Y from slot 5 or whatever.  But man what they do (jumping in an making eliminations like that improperly) is a really good way to eff yourself on a game if that's not the case.  Sloppy writing on their part at minimum, sloppy thinking at worst.



6 Slots.  Y before X and Z. (More than one element possible per slot.)

We can deduce that neither X nor Z can go into slot 1, as above.

We still  don't know anything about slot 2.  No matter how many elements can go there, Y or X or Z or (X and Z) could go there.

We can deduce that Y can not go into slot 6.  Here, we don't know about slot 5 though.  Y could go there, with X and Z in slot 6.

I am not having trouble recognizing the logic behind slots 1 and 2. I know why X and Z are eliminated from slot 1, but not 2. What I am having trouble understanding is why one should put ~Y underneath slot 5. As you yourself said int he quote above, Y COULD go into slot 5, provided X and Z both go into 6 together.

Putting a ~Y that early just right off the bat removes it from consideration, when maybe if more clues later were given, Y was in fact in slot 5.


Hey again Noumena,

Well then, you're simply right.  They are eliminating Y from slot 5 when they can't, given the conditions stated.

My apologies, from your statements throughout the thread I somehow got the idea that you thought they were being inconsistent in eliminating Y from slot 5 and 6 while only eliminating X and Z from the first slot (and the same with P, Q and R with the progression reversed)... and that you thought that inconsistency was related to recognizing that X and Z could occur together in one case, but not recognizing that in another.  If you don't think there's an inconsistency, good, because there's not.  Nothing can be eliminated as a possibility from slot 2 either way.

They are simply wrong in eliminating Y from slot 5 given these conditions.

Hi Gonzolaw,

Thanks again, but my last post was on a different example. There are NO conditions or instructions other than to diagram the fact that Y is examined before X and Z are examined. It tells us only that there are 6 total examinations, and, like you said, no information as to whether perhaps 1 might occur on separate occasions.

I'm not sure whether those 4 scenarios that you typed up pertain to my last post, or my original post. The variables you chose and language are mixed up.

At any rate, I'm about to send you the pages that I'm talking about. You'll see what I mean then.



Hey Noumena,

Scenario D above fits this example, using the same variables.  C and D mimic the example you posted, just demonstrating why whether they can occur simultaneously or not does not lead to what you think it does.  I just looked at the page.  They are off in having ~Y in the last two, if X and Z can occur together.

The elimination of X and Z from the first slot and not the second though is not a recognition that they can occur together.  That would still be the case, whether they can occur together or only separately.

"They DO recognize that X and Z could occur together in the second slot, and so just eliminate the possibility of them occurring first" <<<<<< That is where you are confusing yourself.  They eliminate it from the first slot only, regardless whether X and Z can occur together or not.

Work it out on paper.  Put Y in slot one.  Slot two can be filled with X or Z or both.  You can't eliminate them as possibilities for slot 2.  That's true whether they can occur at the same time or not.  That's why they aren't having you eliminate them from slot two.

Current Law Students / Re: Awful 1L year
« on: June 06, 2009, 06:54:54 PM »
I did poorly during my first semester of law school and the second semster ended similarly. I'm currently enrolled in summer school and am doing two judicial internships. I go to a T2 school w/ a B curve. Is it worthwhile to continue (i.e. will I have any job prospects)?

Of course you will.  There are people graduating from tier 4 and even non-ABA schools doing quite well.  Make sure you pass the bar on the first try. Work your a** off networking and the like.  Top tier and excellent records open doors, for sure.  That doesn't mean that's the ONLY way to open some of those doors.

Not to belabor this...but here's a paraphrase of one of their drill questions:

Diagram the following statement: Y is examined before X and Z are examined. There are 6 examinations:

-................ -.....-.....-.....-........-

What the hell?! Now they've flipped. They DO recognize that X and Z could occur together in the second slot, and so just eliminate the possibility of them occurring first, but now Y for some reason cannot occur 2nd last. But that presumes X and Z cannot occur simultaneously in the last slot!

That's it...I'm throwing away this book.

The above reasoning is off...  even if X and Z could not occur together in the second slot, you can't know for sure that neither of them is going to be there, so they (powerscore) are not having you make a note of it.  If you were to make a note of it, best you could do is ~Xv~Z (with v='or').  That's not much information, and would likely confuse most people when they were working out the problems.


Okay, I hate to put it this way, but you may be confusing yourself.  Know that I don't have access to the Powerscore materials you're talking about, and so I can't give you direct references,  also keep in mind that even when it's not stated explicitly in one of the rules/conditions, the set up will often tell you or give some reason that there can only be one element per 'slot.'  I suspect that there is something in the examples you are giving that would indicate this.

Going one possibility at a time.


6 slots.  P after both Q and R (only one element per slot):

We can deduce that there is no P in slots 1 or 2.

We can deduce that there is no Q and no R in slot 6.

We don't really know anything about slot 5, as P, Q or R could still be there individually.


6 slots.  P after both Q and R (more than one element possible per slot):

We can deduce there is no P in slot 1.  (unlike case A above, we don't really know anything about slot 2, if Q and R are together in slot 1, P could go there.)

We can deduce that there is no Q and no R in slot 6.

We STILL don't really know anything about slot 5 as P, Q or R or (Q and R) could still go there.


6 slots.  Y before X and Z.  (One element possible per slot.)

We can deduce that neither X nor Z can go in slot 1: that would give no place for Y.

We don't really know anything about slot 2.  Y or X or Z could each be there.

We can deduce that Y can not go into slot 5 or 6, as there must be room for X and Z in two separate subsequent slots.


6 Slots.  Y before X and Z. (More than one element possible per slot.)

We can deduce that neither X nor Z can go into slot 1, as above.

We still  don't know anything about slot 2.  No matter how many elements can go there, Y or X or Z or (X and Z) could go there.

We can deduce that Y can not go into slot 6.  Here, we don't know about slot 5 though.  Y could go there, with X and Z in slot 6.

There is a "strategy" in Powerscore's Logic games bible that I'm not sure is really sound; it concerns the diagramming of uncertain relationships.

For instance, it says that if you are told only that 2 items, say P and Q, must occur before another, let's say R, in a 6 day week, then you would diagram something like the following:

....-.........-   -   -   -      -
~R   ~R               (~P,~Q)

(periods inserted to simulate the diagram as it would appear in your own notes...just imagine they aren't there)

I have doubts as to whether it is wise to so quickly eliminate R from possibly occurring second in the sequence. First of all, the Logic games Bible states that since we are not told what the relationship between P and Q are, we only know that it may be that P occurs before Q, Q occurs before P, or they occur concurrently. But if we can't rule out that last possibility of P and Q occurring at the same time, then how can we presumptively cross out R underneath the second slot? That presumes that P and Q cannot occur at the same time, and so that R cannot occur second in the sequence.

Furthermore, the logic in their notation for these first two slots and the last slot seems inconsistent. In the last slot, the possibility of P and Q's occurring simultaneously is taken account of--the 5th slot doesn't eliminate P and Q from possibly happening together, and so notes correctly that R might occur last. Otherwise the author would have indicated that because P and Q might occur separately, if R occurs right after either P or Q, then there is a chance that because one of the disjuncts (i.e., P, Q) might "bump" R out of the last slot, then ~P and ~Q should likewise be indicated below the 5th slot.

If anyone can shed some light on this, I'd be really grateful.


p.s. following the tradition of philosophical logic, I have represented all 'nots' in my "diagram" with the tilde (~) symbol.
p.p.s. if you want to follow along in your copy of the Bible, I have the Webcom edition, and it's on pgs 17-18.

If we don't know that it's one element per 'slot,' then you are totally right about not being able to eliminate R from the second slot.  I'm not following your diagram or the reasoning for the last slot though.  May just be a case of study burn-out.  In all cases allowable under those conditions, neither P nor Q will occur in the last/6th slot, as both have to be before R... there's no 'bumping' R from the last slot unless it was that P v Q occurred before R.

Given the conditions as described, all you can put in the diagram is -R in the first slot, and -P,-Q in the last.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Ranking California Law Schools
« on: June 06, 2009, 01:27:08 AM »
The list seems pretty accurate, but also highlights the weakness of rankings.  Santa Clara is a good example.  Outside of the Bay Area, a JD from there doesn't mean much.  Within the Bay Area though, it's a different story.  Santa Clara alum are close-knit and look out for each other, a lingering affect of its jesuit roots.  The connections made there often get students into positions they have no "right" being in, if you're just looking at the school's ranking... positions a Stanford grad would be more than happy to have.

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