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Messages - gzl

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Pre-Law in high school / Re: Pre-Law or no Pre-Law?
« on: June 16, 2009, 03:22:17 AM »
I aspire to get into law to use as a jumping point for a political career. I'm really interested in criminal law and would love to work for a DA somewhere. I'm a high school sophomore with about a 3.3 GPA. There's been a lot of stuff floating around the internet saying whether or not to take a pre-law course in college for a jump start into a law school. So basically, should I major in pre-law for my undergrad? And if not, what should I major in to get a jump start on a political career?

Greetings.  I will tell you up front that I am biased.  I was never impressed with most of the Poli Sci or Pre-Law majors that I had dealings with as an undergrad.  In law school, I find some of them trying to apply the type of analysis they learned as an undergrad to law school problems, and the results usually aren't great.  Students starting with a 'blank slate' sometimes catch on more quickly.  I majored in philosophy and the thorough training in critical thinking is, I think, hugely beneficial in legal analysis.  That said, I wasn't planning on law school when I chose that major.  If I could do it over again, I would either double major, or major in economics with a philosophy minor.  I think the combination would suit politics and law brilliantly.  In reality though, major in what most interests you.  If you're studying something you have no real passion or interest for, you aren't going to get much out of it in any case.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Civic Literacy Quiz
« on: June 15, 2009, 02:01:45 PM »
32 out of 33 correct.  Question 27 is a crap question, and not just because I got it wrong.  Laden with arguable assumptions, etc etc.

General Board / Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« on: June 13, 2009, 01:44:11 AM »
There's a worm addicted to eating grape leaves. Suddenly, he wakes up, call it grace, whatever, something wakes him, and he's no longer a worm. He is the entire vineyard, and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks, a growing wisdom and joy that dosen't need to devour.

Whereupon he gradually starved to death.

General Board / Re: Anyone Still Not Get Their Grades Yet?
« on: June 12, 2009, 05:08:53 PM »
Just doing a quick check out there to see who is still waiting for grades.  Can my school seriously be the slowest?  I'm sure this is going to hinder my transfer prospects.

Still waiting for mine.  And it irritates the #### out of me.  First it puts students looking to transfer in a bind.  It also puts students who may not want to come back if they knew how poorly they did in a bind, especially those looking to take summer courses.  Grading the freakin bar exam takes 2 min./question on average, how hard is it really to get students' grades done?  Most of us are paying too much for law school as it is, the least that can be expected and asked is professionalism in regular duties from those we're paying.  I'd be firing a real estate agent, lawyer, or car broker that handled their duties this way.  /vent

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Computer Shopping
« on: June 11, 2009, 03:23:26 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.

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. 

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.

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