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Messages - lawgirl

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I started out at a fourth tier school. I transferred up to a first tier and still ended up in the top of my class (sorry, not trying to brag, but some think that if you attend 4th tier that you are stupid which is not so). I had an awful LSAT experience which held me back in choices for law school, but my first year grades in law school enabled me to transfer.

You are all very welcome. I never read Planet Law School, but I did read a lot of the other popular primers. For me, it was a way to see what techniques were out there but really, it was to stop me from freaking out when I was waiting to start school. I really hated not knowing what things would be like, it made me uncomfortable. The techniques that I incorporated are probably a mixture of a lecture we received in law school and my own experiments.

The biggest thing that I can recommend is to learn the law but see the big picture and figure out how to apply it to more hypos than just the cases you are reading. If you can see how everything fits together (how that one, minute rule from that case a long time ago fits in as an explanation of one element: intent, how that element fits in as part of what has to be proven for a specific law: battery, and how that specific law fits into the body of law that covers that area: intentional torts for tort law) then you have suddenly conquered a large part of the game that others never do. Those are the ones that I have seen over and over again fail out. It was because they did not see how everything fit together. Do whatever you need to do: outlines, graphs, paste up charts on your wall if you have to. It will come together if you go in with that focus.

If any of you have other questions, I usually check in daily. Good luck to all of you.!!!

Current Law Students / Re: reading in law school?
« on: June 27, 2004, 09:51:08 PM »
There might be some people who can skate through law school, not really learn anything and come out not competent to represent a client, but why would you want to do that? If you don't learn how to read caselaw in law school (read it, really understand what the case is about and how it fits into the bigger body of law), you certainly won't be able to do it once you begin to practice. And make no mistake, you will need to understand how to do this in practice. Otherwise, I suppose, purchase a ton of malpractice insurance and prepare to switch careers after a few appearences in court.

1. Read through the case once, underline things you find important (facts, law, reasoning, holding)

2. A few days later, brief the case. Type or write it into paper format using the same headers as above: facts, law, reasoning, holding. But this time, cut out what you clearly don't need. Try to keep the brief to one page. During this phase, you will begin to understand it on a deeper level.

3. On the day of class, review your briefs before you go to class. Review it so that you could recite it if asked. During this phase, you are trying to understand the case on an even deeper level and trying to figure out why it is important for the section of class that you are studying (ex: why is this case important for Torts: Intentional Torts).

In class, use your brief, but have your book handy for reference. If you color-code when you highlighted/underline during the first time you read it, you should be able to find anything that is important quickly during class.

Current Law Students / Re: Desperate for good advice
« on: June 13, 2004, 10:37:56 AM »
Ask yourself: Do I really want this? If you do, don't let this get you down. Figure out what you need to fix, find whatever help you need and JUST DO IT. If you really want it, you can make it happen.

Current Law Students / Re: ***DO NOT CLICK ON THE SDSD TOPIC
« on: June 12, 2004, 09:17:03 PM »
Thank you, Andrew. It locked mine up.

Current Law Students / ***DO NOT CLICK ON THE SDSD TOPIC
« on: June 12, 2004, 06:55:09 PM »
It will do crazy things to your computer and whoever posted it, you are an ass. Grow up.

I just use MS Word. There are a lot of companies that make software for law school and I have seen some people use it. I'm sure it is helpful to some people. I don't use it because I prefer to create the outline myself. I feel like I get more out of it when I have to create it myself (another exposure to working with it to learn the material). I'm sure it is fine and there is nothing wrong with it. I just don't prefer it.

As to your last comment, what you are feeling right now is perfectly normal. This is something that every new student goes through. You feel lost and not sure what to expect, how things work, etc. That is perfectly normal and every 1L feels that way. The best thing that I can recommend is to read the 1L primer books that are out there describing what law school is like and what happens,  how to do well, etc. They will not necessarily be on target for your specific school and they cannot give you THE method that will work for everyone, but it is a nice preview and it is something to make you feel better and not so lost.

If I can do anything else, let me know. I'll answer any questions that you have.

You also asked about flow charts and note taking in class. I used flow charts for one class (Civil Procedure). I used it after I had already outlined and started studying. It was a way to test my knowledge and see if I was understanding the relationships between concepts. In general, I think you should use whatever works. The best advice I can give you is that the more you actually work with tne material, the better. If you have a system that works for you, use it. Above all else, do whatever it takes to understand the law at the minute level (black letter law, for example; the definition of intent for battery purposes), but MAKE SURE you can put it into some kind of a structure
(Torts: Intentional Torts, Negligence, Strict Liability).

As for note taking, I'm not sure what you are asking. I use a laptop (I wrote them by hand the first semester and it is much easier with a laptop). I try to figure out what the structure of the class is for that day (ex: Civil Procedure: Subject Matter Jurisdiction: Types: Diversity Jurisdiction and Federal Question Jurisdiction) and how it would fit in an overall structure for the class. And then I take notes. I might use a header: Diversity Jurisdition and take notes over all of the cases and what ever the prof says pertaining to diversity jurisdiction. Then, when the prof moves to federal question jurisdiction, I make a new header for that and do the same thing.

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