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Messages - bass

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21
I've read the Canon book.  I'm really puzzled why anyone would think it's a "bad" book.

Because it is filled with dense, legalistic, opaque, pompous, law-review style writing that hides the main ideas.  And the ideas are important.  The introduction refers to the book as a "decoder ring"; I think that's accurate.

The forwards are pretty great, though.

(Also, there's no Bickel in it.)

The density and opacity is a function of the classic texts themselves, no?  If you are looking for the primary sources, that book's the way to go.

The Bickel omission criticism is a fair one.

22
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Theoretical vs Practical
« on: November 07, 2007, 12:15:53 AM »
If I wrote it, it's the rule.  Think of me as Justice Kennedy.  In any case, I can't imagine anyone objectively disagreeing with the value of an A exam.

True.

But, I mean, wouldn't you like to be someone other than Justice Kennedy?

I don't know.  Being the most powerful person on the most powerful court in the country sounds nice to me.  I suppose I'd prefer a cushy professor job, but it's close.

23
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Theoretical vs Practical
« on: November 07, 2007, 12:11:34 AM »
This actually varies based on professor pretty widely.  At the very least, what counts as "basic black letter law" can vary.  In my torts class, I could probably sum up everything black letter I needed to know in like 5 sentences.  On the exam, I spent 90% of the time applying various theories/policies and 10% citing legal principles.  The key is to find A answers to past exams, and do whatever they did.

Uh oh.  Conflicting evidence...

GIVE ME THE EFFING RULE ALREADY!

 ;)

If I wrote it, it's the rule.  Think of me as Justice Kennedy.  In any case, I can't imagine anyone objectively disagreeing with the value of an A exam.

24
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Theoretical vs Practical
« on: November 07, 2007, 12:05:15 AM »
you will still at a minimum need to the basic black letter stuff even if you only covered it for a few minutes in class.

that's my fear.

This actually varies based on professor pretty widely.  At the very least, what counts as "basic black letter law" can vary.  In my torts class, I could probably sum up everything black letter I needed to know in like 5 sentences.  On the exam, I spent 90% of the time applying various theories/policies and 10% citing legal principles.  The key is to find A answers to past exams, and do whatever they did.

25
I've read the Canon book.  I'm really puzzled why anyone would think it's a "bad" book.  It's a collection of the most important essays in jurisprudence, so I suppose it'd be in order to criticize it for including what it ought not to include or excluding what it ought to include.  But I think it gets the thing pretty much right.  You may not buy some of jurisprudence, but it's hard to imagine someone being worse off for having read Calabresi & Melamed's classic HLR article, Holmes's Path of the Law, or (despite what some may think) Dworkin's Hard Cases.

On the subject of the thread, I didn't prep for law school (I read Law School Confidential, but not for any sort of "prepping"), and I'm sure it isn't necessary.  That said, I don't think it could hurt, and to that end, here's some thoughtful advice:

Learning doctrine in advance is probably a mistake--since you might not learn it "correctly" in the sense of "consistent with a (/your) law professor's view"--but if you feel compelled to think about doctrine, I suppose Glannon is a fine thing to read.

It's really nice to have a basic familiarity with: 1) useful theories you'll apply in lots of (1L) courses, 2) the structure of the legal system, and 3) the supreme court.  These are the sort of things that you'll pick up by osmosis throughout 1L, but you can learn them in advance to some degree.  I'm not sure I can help too much with specifics (though others should feel free to supplement my examples within each type), but here goes.

1) Useful theories:  It's hard to imagine making any sort of policy argument without some background in law and economics.  If you have no familiarity with the area, you might google some basic background, but eventually you'll want to read Coase's The Problem of Social Cost and Calabresi and Melamed's Property Rules, Liability Rules, and Inalienability: One View of the Cathedral.  Incidentally, both are in the Canon book others insulted.  It's also nice to have non-economic theories at your disposal.  Basic googleable familiarity with Kantian-derived theories might be nice, and you might consider skimming, e.g., Charles Fried's An Anatomy of Values (or Contract as Promise).  You need not read the whole of either book.  Other critical perspectives (feminist critiques, etc.) are nice but not my forte, and in any case, as important as they really are, your profs are not likely to emphasize them.

2) Structure of the legal system: There must be a book that's good here.  I don't know it.  In any case, really basic pages like the two that follow likely suffice:

http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/legalotln/
http://www.quickmba.com/law/sys/

3) The Supreme Court: When you get into conlaw or criminal procedure (and even in other 1L courses), you'll talk about the justices of the supreme court.  Professors tend to know a lot about the justice's personalities and their various approaches to jurisprudence, and they sometimes act as if you should too.  A passing familiarity with the current court (at least) is good, and one way to get that is to look at modern popular books on the Court (Toobin's The Nine; Jan Crawford Greenburg's Supreme Conflict).  You might also want to have heard of big cases and justices of the past, and this book seems promising:

http://www.amazon.com/Peoples-History-Supreme-Court-ConstitutionRevised/dp/0143037382/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/105-5848534-3482822?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1194411227&sr=1-2

Note that I haven't read it, so it might be terrible.


I think that's a reasonable start.  If you do get the much-maligned Canon of Legal Thought book, I'd recommend reading Holmes, at least one legal realist (probably the Cohen piece), both the Coase and C&M pieces above, Dworkin, and a MacKinnon piece.

27
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: September 16, 2007, 11:11:45 PM »
I'm in Contemporary Legal Scholarship with Yochai Benkler. I haven't found anyone else who signed up for it yet but I'm excited.


Benkler's great.  I have him for Copyright, etc. now.

28
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: September 15, 2007, 11:16:42 AM »
I think I'll just spend (about the same amount of time) on a journal

I recommend JOLT.

Hi bass, I'm quite interested in JOLT.  What's the expected workload?

Depends on your involvement.  Go to whatever informational meeting/training they have.  Things can change semester to semester (based on my conversations with EICs, should be less work than last year).  I think the basic answer is: minimum one weekend where you're working pretty damn hard, one 2 hour training session, plus about 5 hours.

29
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: September 12, 2007, 10:10:43 PM »
I'm inclined JLG-wards. Surprised? Anyone? Bueller?

I'll be pushing it at the journals fair, but this isn't a hard sell.  JLG has by far the most supportive and caring community of any journal at HLS, perhaps more than any student organization.  I leave meetings feeling energized and optimistic, things I rarely feel elsewhere.  Some journals (not naming names) use Roberts Rules of Order for their 3 hour weekly meetings.  JLG runs like butter, challenges me,  and is such a great place to be that it's not uncommon for people to leave their 1L journal to join it as a 2L (and be shocked by the difference).

I don't know about JLG, but JOLT's acronym is also an English word.

30
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: September 11, 2007, 11:09:01 PM »
I think I'll just spend (about the same amount of time) on a journal

I recommend JOLT.

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