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Messages - bass

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: for those that have started law school
« on: September 10, 2007, 08:21:52 AM »
Marbury v. Madison is a difficult case to start out with.  Nonetheless, I think the best technique for understanding cases is just to read carefully a few times, the first time without underlining or highlighting (or only circling difficult terms), and then try to write a summary for yourself, checking back in on the case when you run into trouble.  I can't offer a lot of advice about briefing because I think it is really a matter of what works for you personally (and because I do not brief myself), but just writing out definitions for terms the court discusses, a restatement of the holding in your own words, a few notes to remind you what the factual background of the case was, etc., is a good idea.

I think you should just hum a few bars and then figure it out from there.

My first case was People v. Newton.  I had to wait until the end of the class to point out it was, in fact, Huey Newton we were talking about.

Still don't remember him.  Do you mean Huey Lewis?  Or was Huey Newton the one who did the Back to the Future music stuff?  Anyway, the first case I remember was about eating people.  I understand that British food is disgusting, but I wouldn't eat the father of Spiderman.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: August 15, 2007, 07:09:45 PM »
Spaulding, come talk *&^% with us.

I'm extra grumpy because I'm badly sunburned and I always feel stupid when that happens.  I mean, it's not like this doesn't always happen to me and yet somehow I never put on enough suntan lotion.  So here goes.

I have a lot of respect for Dan Meltzer but not as a section leader.  There aren't nice ways to say some of the things that I'm going to say, but in short he's a dedicated administrator with limited capabilities for understanding his students.  He's quite bright and a capable teacher but I don't know a single person in my section who is dying to take another course with him, let alone feels close to him or wants to be his RA.  Comparing these sentiments to what students feel about Martha Minnow, Randall Kennedy, Jon Hanson, David Barron, or Liz Warren is embarassing.  All of those listed are equally accomplished if not moreso and were significantly closer to their section.  Those section leaders are young professors producing incredible scholarship on par with (or surpassing) Meltzer's and yet it seems they do a better job of being a section leader.

It's unclear to me why Meltzer remains a section leader other than his willingness to give everything he has to the school.  It's true, Meltzer loves HLS and probably does more for it than any other professor (the section model was his idea, he chaired the new building process, etc).  His dedication is admirable and I have nothing to say that would mitigate it.  I wonder if he's a section leader because he feels it's the right thing to do, not necessarily because he's good at it.  Apparently, when he first started teaching, students would leave his Crim Law class in tears because of his obtuseness (as opposed to Dersh's aggressive insensitivity).  He's learned to handle a classroom better but not a section and I feel that obtuseness defines his leadership.  I can't think of any time I would now turn to him for advice or for assistance beyond a recommendation letter for Crim and I don't think my experience is an outlier for Section 2.  Yet Section 2 was an outlier for the rest of the 1L class in this regard.  He's great at programming and brings in speakers, but not at connecting with people or understanding his students.  Anyone who took him up on his offer to go to lunch knows what I'm getting here.  If Dan Meltzer wasn't a section leader, and had just taught me Crim, I'd be insisting that he's a great teacher.  Personally, I would have been fine having Minnow, Hanson, Warren, Kennedy, or Barron.  Hell, I would have taken Linda Krieger or Bruce Mann over him, despite the fact that they knew nothing about HLS.  I think Bass liked him because there wasn't a lot of hand-holding.  I think what might surprise him is that there wasn't any hand-holding anywhere else, but that section leaders formed relationships with their students.

DISCLAIMER:  So I have, well, a somewhat special relationship with Meltzer in that he and I had a fairly substantial disagreement over the course of the year.  Every time we met, I just felt more and more alienated and upset by him.  Perhaps not everyone who was in the same boat as I was felt this way, but Meltzer effectively divided-and-conquered and made it nearly impossible for the affected students to talk to each other or him about it.  Although unintentional, it was a pretty dispicable thing for anyone to do and the fact that he was a section leader made it so there was nobody to whom I could turn.  Even now I'm using code words.  I'm not anonymous on this board and wouldn't be surprised if some of this gets back to him.  He knows that he screwed up this situation and while we may never see eye-to-eye, I'm sure he can better interpret this post in light of what happened.

I don't disagree with a lot of what H4CS has to say here; I was just attacking it from a different angle.  Meltzer's interpersonal warmth is not his greatest strength.  I wasn't looking for that exactly, though I would have been thrilled to have found a great mentor 1L year.

I will repeat that he's a well-liked prof and brings in excellent speakers.  I don't think Spaulding and I are that far apart.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: August 13, 2007, 12:13:43 AM »
2 questions for those that have already been through a year:

1.  How long does it normally take for profs to post grades after finals?

2.  Can you apply for 1L summer jobs before you have grades? If so what do you do, just send other info and send grades later, or try to get a job on the strength of the HLS name.

1) Too long, but much of this is registrar, etc. issues rather than profs taking a long time.  To be fair, though, the profs have an average of like 12,000 pages of 1L exams per class to read and grade.  That's no fun.  I think it was like the second week of February before we got our grades.

2) You can apply 12/1.  Many will get offers before grades.  If you haven't found a job by February--and you would be in the majority in this case--then send your grades when they come in.  You get jobs without grades based on (a) HLS and (b) your pre-law school achievements.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: August 11, 2007, 06:00:29 PM »
has anyone figured out yet how the whole buying a computer thing works with your student budget...? somebody said something about them deducting it from your student contribution? does this mean you get that much more aid?

i am currently abroad too and trying to figure everything out from here. not going to be back in the country until the 28th..but it's worth it

It does deduct from your contribution.  The effect of this depends on the circumstances.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: August 11, 2007, 05:59:30 PM »
Do we get all our books at the law school bookstore (it seems so small in there to carry books for hundreds of courses)?  And do all the classes typically have 1st day reading assignments?

1) You may do so, or you may get them elsewhere.  Most 1Ls go to the bookstore, and the bookstore people are ready to fill your basket full of everything you need--you'll just tell them your section.  I had bought the books through online retailers in advance for the most part.  Casebooks are unusually expensive for no reason.

2) Most, I think.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: August 07, 2007, 03:28:52 PM »
Re: Outlines

Are the HLCentral outlines usually pretty good?

EDIT: You had Mann, right?  Where did you get info (outlines, etc..) for him--looks like he was new last year?

I created a wiki for stuff like this last semester, and I posted a bunch of stuff.  You might be interested:

Incoming 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: August 07, 2007, 01:50:56 PM »
I've got two visiting profs--Civ Pro and Property. My most-scariest classes. *&^%.

And a pleasant-sounding hello to Mr. Darcy.

Civpro has lots of visitors.  It's just a bunch of rules, and if you memorize the rules, you're halfway there.  You can often get old exams and outlines from the visitor's school anyway.  Don't worry too much.  I would recommend Glannon's civpro E&E, of course.

Property is also very rule-based.  I like Dukeminier's Understanding Property in the Lexis series.  Fantastic book.  Visitors are often more black-letter oriented than established profs, which makes thing easier for you (not getting blown away by wacky questions on exams like who owns the moon).

Incoming 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: August 07, 2007, 01:47:41 PM »
Bass, what all do you know about Greiner/Meltzer/Glendon/Goldberg/Triantis/Stephenson.

I know you said they were good, any more details on their teaching style?

I was mainly referring to Meltzer, who I can fill in more for.  I can also say a bit about Glendon and Triantis.

Meltzer is, first of all, one of the smartest people you'll ever meet.  I hear he was summa at hls (though I haven't seen that confirmed), which is typically a once-every-10+-years thing.  In any case, he was president of HLR and a Fay diploma winner, and his student note is one of the top 5 most cited student pieces of all time (search Volokh for this).  He wrote THE fedcts casebook and still regularly publishes in the very top journals (HLR, etc.).  Brilliant people say he is off the charts.

As to Meltzer as a prof: you'll quickly learn that he actually cares about the students as people, which is great.  He'll invite you to his house for a bbq at the end of orientation, where you'll meet his wife and have a great time.  In the classroom, he will be a bit intimidating and socratic, though he regularly asks for volunteers and occasionally lectures.  If you have something to say, you can feel comfortable raising your hand to say it, but you better be ready to defend it.  Meltzer has a way of finding  the most complex, unsolvable problems in the law you are covering, and he will make you take sides.  Then he will pick your viewpoints apart.  This is not something to be afraid of, since he doesn't do it in a mean way.  You'll probably enjoy it, and it will get you thinking like a lawyer.

One thing about Meltzer is that he does assign a bit more than the average workload, and he can be rough on people who are unprepared.

You should be ready with justifications for your positions, of which "deterrence," "efficiency," and "personal autonomy" will be good standby answers.  This might not make sense out of context, but you'll see how much sense it makes soon enough.

There are some great old Meltzer outlines that are worth grabbing on HL central.  Also, be careful come exam time to make sure to follow his directions: complete sentences and no abbreviations.

Meltzer is probably the best section leader in terms of bringing in outstanding speakers.  You will be amazed.

Re: Glendon.  We were supposed to have her, but she had to take a last-minute leave.  I can tell you that she has an interesting background (very conservative, worked for the pope or something), and that she will start you out much more on theory than others might (lotsa Locke, etc.).  I hear she's pretty socratic, but that's anecdotal.

Re: Triantis.  I've met him, and he seems like a really nice guy.  One thing that's good about having him for K's is that he is actually doing work in K's (rather than just teaching it).  He has some really novel stuff about innovative contracting.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: August 03, 2007, 11:24:39 AM »
thanks, bass, and congrats!  is it considered rude to ask someone if they got on through grades or write-on?

Maybe it would be rude if it were possible for me to tell you.  No one knows for sure how they get on.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: HLS Class of 2010!!!
« on: August 03, 2007, 10:41:54 AM »
Dear HLS:

I'm really really really not a morning person.  I feel that you and I will both agree, my education would be better served not having to attend class at 8 AM every day.  Please do not make me get up early for both my sanity and that of my classmates.  Also, please make Bass Editor of Law Review, he's a pretty nice guy.  Please also note, despite my SN, I am not a woman.

Thanks So much.


lol.  The LR people answered your pleas, btw, per Mr. Crane's observation.

Also to echo LaurenRae52's note above, I'd be happy to help people out who end up with Meltzer, Fried, Mann, or Sargentich.  I don't really have outlines that are worth anything, but I have some other (perhaps more useful) stuff.

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