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Messages - lawgirl

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Current Law Students / Re: 1L - First Brief
« on: August 15, 2004, 03:35:24 PM »
You can get cocky, it's allowed!!!   ;)

Current Law Students / Re: 1L - First Brief
« on: August 15, 2004, 01:49:59 PM »
Just wait until you are done with Research and Writing. My old school emphasized clear and concise writing to the point that you felt they would beat you over the head with a casebook if you couldn't master that concept. Now, when I have to read older cases that have paragraph long sentences and take 5 pages to express a concept, I literally want to find the old coots and knock them over the head with my casebook.  :o

Current Law Students / Re: How much of this do I have to put up with!
« on: August 14, 2004, 08:05:38 PM »
I think some of it depends on where you are at in the program and some of it depends on the professor. During my first semester, all of my profs used the Socratic method religiously. They did a little lecturing in between, but the major emphasis was the Socratic method. During my second semester, only one prof did not use it all the time. The others still stuck to it. During my last two semesters, it has been a mixture. About 1/2 lecture and 1/2 Socratic method. I'm not sure if it is tapering off or if I happen to be getting profs who don't use it as often. It would not surprise me, however, to see a prof use it a lot again.

Sometimes it is conductive for the class and particular skills that you are learning. I don't particularly like it all the time, but it does have its advantages. It forces you to be prepared all the time. And, if you think about it, this method does teach you skills that you will need in practice.

I asked my advisor about it one time. I told her that I was used to it, but I still get that initial adrenalin rush in the very beginning. She told me that it is normal for many people and she still felt it when she started working as an attorney. But, she explained that you learn to deal with it and ignore the stress it causes, because ultimately, your client's needs are more important than your own temporary discomfort. From watching her in class (she was also one of my profs) I never would have guessed in a million years that it used to make her nervous. That, in and of itself, gives me hope that that uncomfortable feeling will pass.

What I can tell you is that it does get better. I am doing much better at the Socratic method compared to when I first started. When it happens, I recognize it, tell myself to calm down and move on. Lately, I have come to see it as a personal challenge and I feel a personal achievement when I do particularly well during one of the Socratic grillings. When I don't do as well, I try to figure out what went on and fix it. It is just a process.

Trust me though, it is not as bad as everyone thinks. In my old school and my new school, I have never seen a professor humiliate a student. They will press you and challenge you to think on your feet, but they understand that it is part of the learning process and not everyone is a natural born speaker. The only time I have ever seen a professor get anywhere close to humiliating a student was when a student was just obviously unprepared. Students who do that in my school are subject to being kicked out of class and possibly failed just for that reason alone. It sounds harsh, but I agree with it. Coming in unprepared to a court of law, settlement meeting, etc. is unacceptable. It should be just as unacceptable when you are a student. The use of the Socratic method is just another method they use to show you the responsibility you will have as an attorney.

Look at it as a learning experience and as a challenge and you will be fine.


Current Law Students / Re: Criminal Defense/Law School Rank??
« on: August 14, 2004, 11:02:41 AM »
I don't have experience with employers per se but I just did some research on this by speaking to people in the field. I spoke to a Federal District Court defense attorney, a Federal District Court judge (former prosecutor) and a United States Court of Appeals judge before I transferred from a tier four to a tier one school. All of them said that the school does matter, but even if you go to a lower tier school, to make sure you end up toward the top 10%. I was at the top of my class in a tier four school before I transferred. I have stayed at the top of my class after the transfer. Where ever you go, make sure you stay at the top of your class. If it is possible, you can look into transferring or you can stay where you are at, but if you do stay, try to graduate near the top of your class. 

Current Law Students / Re: Law School Confidential Method
« on: August 12, 2004, 08:01:06 PM »
I did not follow the book's advice, but after 4 semesters in law school with excellent grades, this is what I can tell you. Don't EVER listen to a book that tells you not to take notes in class (unless, of course, you are the type who only needs to hear it once). The notes that you will take in class will become your roadmap to how a professor thinks. Figuring out how a professor thinks will be your opportunity to determine what is important to them and what their thinking pattern will be when the prepare the exam. Don't ever give up that opportunity. I have watched others use the "no class note" method and for the majority I have seen, it does not work.

I make my outlines from the combination of class notes and case briefs and it gets me A's. The last exams I took before break were again very successful for me. All that I had to study to prepare for a final was my outline and during the test, anything I needed to know I could see in my head. I knew my outline so well that whenever a specific issue came up on the test, I either knew the answer right away or could think back to my outline and see it all there in my head. I need to qualify this by saying that, until law school, I had never tried this method. I had never experienced anything close to having a photographic memory or anything along those lines. I was a decent student in college, but the results I have seen doing it this way has made all the difference in the world. For me, this method was  a godsend. This is what works for me.

I have had times when I have book briefed only. The method that works best for me is doing a book brief the first time through reading the case (highlighting and making notes in the book as I read), typing the actual brief a few days later and reviewing my prepared briefs just before class that day. This method has never failed me.

So, in general, I think the book has a lot of good suggestions. But if I were to warn you about anything, I would warn you not to listen to part about not taking good class notes. In my opinion, it would be the BIGGEST mistake you could ever make.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Current Law Students / Re: new web site for learning vocab/cases FAST
« on: August 04, 2004, 10:44:11 AM »
Personally, I would stay away from it. Anything that is used for 1L students needs a structure to it. This thing is too random. You need to be able to see relationships, not just random things thrown at you.

Current Law Students / Re: Typical Day as a first year law student
« on: August 04, 2004, 09:50:55 AM »

LOL. Please do your future fellow students a favor and shower every day!!! Believe it or not, there are students that have to be "talked to" about that issue.

The worst was during one of my finals a few semesters ago. There was this girl in class who always made it a point to wear a lot of perfume. I would be on one side of the building on a certain floor and I could always tell when she got on the floor. It was that strong. During finals one semester, I saw her (more like smelled her) right before the final and purposely waited until she was seated before I went in so I would not be near her. Before finals started, she must have gutten a bug up her a** about something and ended up switching seats. She ended up a row in front of me and a few seats down. I ended up with a splitting headache half way through the final. Luckily, I knew the information like the back of my hand so I didn't stress too much about the final itself. I was sick to my stomach by the time I got done though. She seemed like a really nice girl, but I seriously wanted to strangle her. 

Current Law Students / Re: Advice for New Law Students
« on: August 04, 2004, 06:33:09 AM »
When I read for class, I read it through the first time and take notes in the margins of the book. When I do my briefs on the weekend, I type out the actual briefs. If, in the assignment, there are passages in the readings that are not cases, but just textbook type information, I might take notes on that also if it a concept that I need to know better.

For example, they might have a case in criminal law talking about battery. I would read the case the first time and take notes in the margin. On the weekend, I would type out the brief of the case. After the case, they might have more notes in the text about the meaning of the case where it flushes out more information about a particular element of battery, other cases which have expanded that meanning, etc. So, on my brief or after, I might add those notes. When I study the day of class, I take out those briefs and the extra notes that accompanied the brief.

The reason to do this is when you take a law school exam, it will be rare to see a fact pattern that fits neatly into the facts of a case that you studied during the semester. If you do your briefs and do the notes afterward, often you will be covering information that will help you when you get that "new" fact pattern on a test. The BEST thing that you can do when studying a specific case is to try to think of new ways that case can be applied to a different fact situation. Try to change the facts a little bit and then see how you would apply the rule of the case you read to the new fact situation.

When I do my outline, I start with a skeleton version of the syllabus. For example: Torts is the main outline, intentional torts is the subtopic and battery is a specific tort within the class of intentional torts. Battery has several elements and each case you read will flush out the meaning of each element. You plug in your cases, notes after the cases and class notes into your outline to understand the meaning of battery as a whole and the meaning of one of its elements in particular.
My outline looks like this:
I. Intentional Torts
     A. Introduction
        1. Types of Intentional Torts
             a. Battery
             b. Assault
             c. Ect.
        2. More introductior information on intentional

     B. Battery
        1. The Elements of Battery
            a. Intent to cause
            b. A harmful or offensive
            c. Contact
       2. First Element: Intent to cause
            a. First Case: Doe vs. Doe
                1. Facts (jflfsljsljlkdlfjfl;jfd;)
                2. ***This is where I put in a condensed
                   version of the combination of what
                   I found in the case, readings and
                   classroom notes

            b. Second Case: Doe vs. Doe
                1. Etc.

        3. Second Element: A Harmful or Offensive

You get the idea. The briefs are just so that you can survive in class, work out your understanding of each specific issue, etc. You later plug in your briefs, class notes, extra notes into your outline, so that by the time you are studying for the final, all you have to do is look at your outline.

That is generally what I do. If you need more help let me know.


Current Law Students / Re: should I use a rolling bag?
« on: August 03, 2004, 06:21:01 PM »
The "too cool" ones definitely need to get over it. If they are that cool, they can carry my laptop (which is one of the heavier models, one of my books out of several assigned for class that are at least the size of the largest dictionary you have seen, my notes, the supplements, any regular stuff I might take that day, and so on, and so forth...........They can carry it for me every day and then complain to me how other people with rolly bags "look." I got over worrying about what anyone thinks a long time ago. Do what feels comfortable for you and what will not give you a back injury down the road.

Current Law Students / Re: Advice for New Law Students
« on: August 03, 2004, 06:16:25 PM »
Do your reading during the week, brief on the weekend and then review right before class. I can't remember how many briefs I had during 1L, but a minimum of at least 10 for each class sounds right, or even low for some classes. You will spend a lot of time in the beginning. Take that time to do it right. You can find the shortcuts later. Somewhere on this board was a question asking about first assignments. I posted my first assignments when I started. It will give you at least an idea of the length of the assignments.

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