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Messages - sunfunliving

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1
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: 4.0 Grades First Semester!
« on: January 03, 2007, 11:08:08 PM »
I got the Casenote Legal Briefs ones through Aspen and then I got access to the online version on loislaw. You are supposed to mail in the ISBN code from the back of the book, but it takes forever for them to give you access to the online ones through loislaw. I called the 1800 number and was granted access. Do not get the digital ones because you have to purchase a special software program to open it.

I also purchased the briefs from Storelaw.com Those were okay, though sometimes too concise. You can get them with the Outliner software (but there really is no need for that in my opinion) and you can get them as a PDF file.

Some of the people in my class used the Highcourt series. They looked pretty good, but I am not sure if they just come as a hard copy.

Hope that helps... Vera :)

2
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: 4.0 Grades First Semester!
« on: January 03, 2007, 12:24:56 PM »
Thanks so much for the congratulations...I keep checking the website to see if my Contracts grade got posted...watch it be a "C"....  :o when it finally gets posted. Even if that is the case...I will be happy. I got an email from a friend who attends another law school in town. He does not get his grades until February 07! That is such a long time to wait for your grades. ~ Vera :)

3
Studying and Exam Taking / 4.0 Grades First Semester!
« on: January 01, 2007, 12:49:57 PM »
I just finished my first semester as a 1L...so this is my limited experience that I am going to share....

I got two grades so far. 4.0 in Legal Writing and 4.0 in Torts! I am still waiting on my Contracts grade. I am a part-time student because I have to work full-time. I am a single mom of seven kids at home (9 in total) - 4 bio and 5 adopted.

Thanks to Atticus Falcon's Planet Law School 2 and thanks to Fleming's Exam Writing Workshop! Without those two tools, I would have not done as well.

Before starting law school, I got some of the books Atticus recommended, like E&E, Concepts & Insight Series, etc. and read them. I also really liked "Understanding Contracts" and "Understanding Torts", there is an entire series of the "Understanding _____" from Lexis. (Also, I found the "A Concise Restatement of _____" series very useful. It give the Restatements but it gives a good overview of examples of how that particular restatement applies to senarios. It is published by The American Law Institute - Atticus recommended them as well.)

I only had 2 months to prepare, but it was great to get a general overview of the topic. I am not somebody who can read and memorize. I have to have repeated exposure through different contexts (reading, discussion, writing, etc.) However, one of the very important things to concentrate on is to get a good general overview of the topic (i.e contracts) of what will be taught that semester.

So, before starting classes, I knew about offer-acceptance-consideration, etc. Of course, our class started with consideration and promissory estoppel without ever having touched on offer and acceptance. The course was taught completely out of sequence! Most students were lost, they saw individual trees but did not see the forest.

I was able to start my outline very early on. Since I had a basic understanding of the main topics and compared them to the syllabus and the sequence the casebook took, I was able to work on my outline with ease. It all made sense to me.

Additionally, very early into the semester, I took Fleming's Exam Writing Workshop. It does not matter if you know the law if you do not know how to write about it. Fleming's workshop took one weekend (12 hours) of which 4 hours was spent on the basics, like issue spotting, setting up an outline, etc. and the rest of the 8 hours was spent actually issue spotting/debriefing and exam writing/debriefing. It was the bootcamp for exam writing! We went home on Saturday evening with an exam to write that we had to bring back on Sunday. It was almost painful to do, but with practice, I got better.

That course really helped me with my legal writing class. I got really good at writing the "A" part of the IRAC.

Additionally, I made use of the exam writing workbooks and the course outlines that are accompanied with CD lectures that Fleming has.

I actually used the outline from Fleming to guide my outline. It was a great overview to listen to the course overview lecture that is based on the outline. They are a bit pricey, but worth it.

(To prepare for next semester, Torts 2, Contracts 2 and Property I, I am already listening to the CDs and reading the outlines, in addition to the books that Atticus is recommending.)

Additionally, I used canned casebriefs. I bought the online versions and cut & pasted them into a word document. This way, I was able to edit it to fit what I needed. I have already done the ones for this coming semester. I also read cases, but at times I did not have the time. Reading cases is important because of the legal reasoning that you get exposed to (some are better than others). But the main thing to focus on is that you are supposed to get a rule out of that case or an example of an exception to the rule. I always asked myself where the case fits into the main outline in terms of the rule.

I think that most students spend too much time on trying to make it through the cases and thus did not have time to get to the Outline or to take practice exams.

One other tip is to look at lexis to get the headnotes from a case in the casebook. The headnotes give you the main issues of the case. I used them to brief cases. When I got called on, I had all the issues listed and my professor said that he could not think of any questions to ask me because I had listed all the important points of the case. Not because I am soooo smart...LOL...but because I knew how to prepare using the headnotes. (In class does not count toward the final grade, but it was a nice feeling to not be torn apart in front of the class --- though this particular professor is a nice person and does not embarrass students, nonetheless, he asks a lot of questions usually.)

If you are still with me...one other IMPORTANT tip is to write lots and lots of practice exams! When I first took the Fleming's course, I focused on writing his practice exams because they come with a sample issue outline and a sample answer. Once I felt more comfortable with the sample answer and got the IRAC down, especially the "A" part, then I started focusing on the previous exams that my professor had given. I would do an issue outline, like I had been taught by Fleming (and got really fast at it). Then I would compare the prof's answer (he had an issue checklist) to make sure that I spotted all the issues. I got pretty good at it.

Once I checked on the issues, then I would write the exam. I noted certain patterns on what the professor focused on. For example, in the contracts mid-terms, I noticed that all mid-terms had a certain pattern of examining offer, acceptance (which were always non-issues) and then there was lack of consideration. Then there was a discussion of "past consideration", "gratuitous promise", "moral consideration" even if these were really not at issue, these mid-terms still had them in the model answer. Then the exam would go onto "quasi contract" and "promissory estoppel". I noted this pattern and practised accordingly. When the mid-term came along, it was exactly that same pattern. I got an "A-" in the mid-term, there were no "A's" given. So, I had one of the highest grades.

I did the same for the finals. I started right after mid-terms in my preparation for finals. Of course there are some areas that you cannot write on because you do not quite understand. However, you can write on what you already know. For example for torts, I was able to write the "duty" and "breach" portion of exams, then I would go back to that exam and write the "causation" and "damages" portion.

Again, I looked for patterns. I found some and noticed some areas that the professor liked testing, like landowner duty for negligence. I made sure that I could write on that fast and with ease. I practiced and practiced writing.

Also, I would also rewrite exams that I had already written to make sure that I learned how to express myself better. There was phrasing that I noticed the professor used in his sample answers. I memorized that phrasing to use in my writing. It seems to have worked because of my 4.0's.

One more thing, our exams also have multiple choice questions (which I do not like). I bought several books to practice them. Emmanuels, Siegels and Q&A from Lexis. Emmanuel and Siegels were the easier type of questions. I started with them. If I noticed that a question was something that we had not covered yet, I marked it to do later. Then I moved onto the Q&A series. There the questions are categorized. The questions in Q&A are a bit trickier than the Emmanels and Siegels.  I made sure to review the answers in the back because the explanations were good.

I also bought a Multistate book for multiple choice, but for a new student these are not so good because they combine subject matter even if the question is under "Torts" it may contain elements of procedure which I had not taken.

Hope this helps somebody. I am not an expert, just finished my first semester as a part-time student, but I thought that I could share.

Happy New Year ~ Vera :)

4
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Leews at top 10 school
« on: October 27, 2006, 09:40:32 PM »
I am only a 1L, so I can only judge by what happened during mid-terms. I do read ahead, actually...I am done with my casebooks and have done casebriefs for all of them with the help of Loislaw online briefs.

The one thing that was/is important to me is to get the "big picture" the overlying structure. Also, I do retain the cases though when we are in class, I gain more knowledge.

Many of the students in my classes are really confused, especially in Contracts.

Our casebook started:
Ch1 - defenses (fraud, duress)
Ch2 - started with some more defenses, then moved into consideration, estoppel, restitution
Ch3 - offer & acceptance (bilateral, unilateral and U.C.C. all mixed in)
Ch4 - Revocation, Estoppel (some more of it), R2nd 45, 87, etc. Merchant Firm Offer, Statute of Frauds
Ch5 - Parole Evidence Rule (and other stuff)
Ch6 - Consideration (again)

The book jumps all over the place. Once I read the cases and reviewed, I finally was able to put things into perspective and sort it out...all we did was Contract Formation and Defenses. Once I figured out what was what, I was on my way. Having the big picture helps in learning the material, it is like seeing the forest and not just getting lost looking that the trees.

Vera :)

5
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Guaranteed "B" or Better?
« on: October 27, 2006, 05:52:11 PM »
Read "Planet Law School II" and follow the advice. The author rambles a bit but his advice is solid.

Vera :)

6
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Leews at top 10 school
« on: October 27, 2006, 05:50:57 PM »
I did the LEEWS before I started law school. I gave myself a week to work through the program. Miller is kind of lengthy in explaining whereas the primer sums it up in a few pages.

You need to start NOW (or yesterday as the other posting mentioned).

You need to work the final exams now. Get them from your law school's library or online (we have ours on the email system).

Even if you have not covered all the subjects, you can work parts of them and compare your answer to the model answers. For example, we are doing Negligence in torts right now. We have covered duty and breach, so I am writing on those two issues for the practice exams.

Also, don't just keep up with your reading. You need to work ahead. You should be done with all your cases, outlining, etc. at least 3 weeks prior to study period prior to exams. Then you can really focus on writing practice exams for more time than the study period.

Vera :)

7
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Leews at top 10 school
« on: October 27, 2006, 09:44:05 AM »
Okay --- I got my exams back. I got an "A-" in contracts and a "B-" in torts (because I misread the call of the question - there were three and one I misread. Had I not done that, I would have ended up with an "A-" also).

I am going to stick to what I did for mid-terms for finals prep. The only thing is that finals also include multiple choice questions. I have the Q&A series and I also have access to CALI for that.

I think that in addition to learning the structure of exam writing, you need to also work past exams from your individual professors. My torts and contracts professor wanted different structures and wanted different things in their exams (i.e. my contracts professor wanted case names in the exam). So write some practice exams and meet with your professors.

Vera :)

8
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Weekend Exam Workshops?
« on: October 24, 2006, 09:05:49 AM »
If you are local in California, there may be one more. BUT, you can get the homestudy course instead. You just need to make sure that you stop and do the exercises when the class would. They are good about answering questions via email, if you had some as you were going through the CD and workbook class version.

Vera :)

9
General Board / Re: I just got finished with LEEWS
« on: October 23, 2006, 09:47:01 AM »
I took LEEWS as well prior to starting law school. The drawback of LEEWS is that you don't really write practice exams, aside from some of the hypos in the back that really do not resemble our law school hypos (at least not at my law school).

I also took Fleming's Exam Writing Workshop. I found that one more useful as it covers the "how to" in the first 3-4 hours of the 12-hour workshop. Once you cover the basics, you do hypos for about 8 hours. Part of the class is that you debrief the issues spotted in your outline and then you write essays that get debriefed as well. It gives you very detailed practice. Also, it covers all the first year classes with additional essay exams, a detailed outline (so that you can compare to yours) and a model answer (so that you can compare to yours). Also, you can mail/email in your essay answer and outline for a critique and feedback (you will actually get an audiotape with the feedback).

I am only a 1L. We had mid-terms and it helped me a lot. But, I am not getting grades until this week sometime. However, I felt confident regarding my performance on the one-hour essay exams that we had.

Vera :)

10
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: First Midterm Exam - boohuuhuu!!!!
« on: October 17, 2006, 10:23:45 AM »
Consider yourself lucky to be at a law school that gives mid-terms because if you had only one final at the end...100% of your grade...you would have been in deep trouble.

I just had mid-terms too...

I posted about this on another thread...but think of it. You get graded on how you write, most everybody knows the black letter law. But can you spot the issues, organize your essay and write in a legal manner? You need to learn this outside of class. Getting your outline done, etc. is just the first step.

Get old exams, practice practice practice...and then go and debrief with the sample answers.

I went and took a writing class outside of law school. I did LEEWS last summer, it gave me a good basic understanding on how to structure the exam essay, BUT it does not give you writing practice. Then I took the Fleming's Exam Writing Workshop class. (It is only offered in California or Nevada) but you can get the CD course. Over one weekend, we were taught how to structure, how to issue spot, how to write exams. We did five exams in class and debriefed them in detail. In addition, there are more exams to do in the workbook that you can email in for critique.

It really helped me with my mid-term. I have not gotten my grades back, but I think that I did well. (We will see... :) )

For finals, I am taking lots and lots of practice exams and debriefing them afterwards.

Hope this helps? I am only a 1L, part-time student, full-time "worker"...but maybe there are some 2Ls and 3Ls on this board who have taken this approach and can chime in?

Vera :)

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