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Messages - NonTradInSATX

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31
John, I'm in no position to argue, but all of my strongest resources and 'how to succeed' type books have repeatedly said that exams are on black letter law only.  I take your comment to mean that by understanding the big picture the black letter law is clear naturally.  If so, then we really dont have a disagreement as its just understanding black letter law to the point that you see the forest and know the trees because you know the forest.

My big point was that I dont want to fall in the trap of just case briefing and trying to glean law from the case, but rather read the E&E and hornbooks ahead of time (before the semester) so that I'm just refining knowledge throughout the class.

3-Know all black letter law before class so I can focus on nuances instead of rules.

Mistake.  Focus on the larger picture, as this is not an efficient way to use your time.  You will forget the black letter law before exam time.  Prepping for class is only important if the professor gives (or takes away) points for attendance, or grading is not anonymous.

32
I'm in the same boat as you, but as I've been looking at my situation, I've realized that I'm not in as dire a place as some would have me believe.

Obviously these are personal, but here are some positive notes I've come to realize:
1-From anecdotal experience, people attending T3/4 schools are more likely to be doing it for the wrong reasons (i.e. deferring undergrad loans 3 more years).  Using my own pseudo-psychology, people that attend for the wrong reasons (like deferring life/loans) are less likely to be putting forth full effort.  This gives you, the hard working LSD reader, fewer competitive students.
2-Depending on your scores, you can get a law degree at a phenomenal discount by going T3/4 and I'd rather be a T3/4 grad unemployed with no debt than a T100 grad unemployed and 150K in the hole.
3-If you love your city, attending the local T3/4 may let you network with mid/small firms locally.  Of course, this doesnít work as well for BigLaw (if you care) or if you want to relocate.
4-Related to 2, if you are an excellent student forced to attend T3/4 by life or bad fortune with GPA/LSAT, you may be smarter than the rest of your class.  While this is no reason to rest on your laurels, you should consider that you could be starting ahead of your section/class and that hard work will ensure you stay there.

Enough self-justifying a T4 law school though, this is my plan:
1-Donít waste time on anything not related to grades, resume or job hunting.  (read Thane Messinger's 'Getting in, Getting Good, Getting the Gold')
2-Go through the recommended PLS II prep materials prior to starting 1L.
3-Know all black letter law before class so I can focus on nuances instead of rules.
4-Focus on Law Review/Moot Court so I can make sure to pad my resume.
5-Network with my local firms/judges as possible to ensure I have contacts when it comes time to job hunt.

And this is what I keep in mind every time the idea of attending T4 starts to get me down:  America loves the underdog, we we're built on a revolution and the little guy overcoming his disadvantages.  So be the best you can possibly be and let the elitists worry about name dropping while you're graduating with honors and law review.

33
News Discussion / Re: Legal Theories on the Health Care bill?
« on: January 28, 2011, 01:58:49 PM »
Agreed, but the argument that needs to stop being made by all the politicians/pundits out there (including some lawyers) is the analogy between Car Insurance and Health Insurance.

Although you could force some sort of absurd logic saying that the uninsured cost people in the end, so it's a charge up front instead of getting hit on the back end, you still cant argue that car insurance (intended to cover the OTHER person's costs in an accident) and health insurance (intended to cover YOUR costs) are the same kind of thing.  If this logic has been worked out, I'd love to hear it, but otherwise the analogy is done.  Furthermore, even if the analogy was valid or you dont care to consider the intent, auto insurance is a state requirement, not a federal requirement. 

On the primary topic though, consider the precedent if this is allowed to go on.  50 years from now, the government might mandate that everyone buy an american made car, require every family to own a laptop for every child or otherwise force you to purchase a good or service you dont personally desire to spend money on.  Then you sue the federal government for overreaching, but precedent says that they can force you to purchase anything they can justify as necessary for the greater welfare.

Simply put, the Constitution does not grant under the CC the right to force people to buy things.


Naw, this isn't a 10th Amendment issue.  The bill doesn't attempt to force the states to do anything.  As somebody mentioned above, the individual mandate contained within the bill is a Commerce Clause issue.   In addition to being a Commerce Clause issue, it is also a Taxing & Spending Clause issue, which is likely where the mandate will pass Constitutional scrutiny.

With respect to the Commerce Clause issue, it is difficult to say whether the Supreme Court will add this bill to the very short list of congressional acts that have been ruled as overstepping the power granted to Congress under the Commerce Clause (see U.S. v. Lopez) or whether the Court will find that this is yet another permissible regulation of interstate commerce in a long history of permissible regulations of interstate commerce going all the way back to the nation's founding.  The Court rarely slaps Congress on the wrist on Commerce Clause grounds but you never know, this could be one of those rare moments. 

If it's a 5-4 vote and the swing vote comes down to Justice Kennedy (which seems to be the Court's m.o. lately) then it's notable to observe that J. Kennedy tends to come down on the side of Justices who believe that Congress has broad powers under the Commerce Clause (see Gonzales v. Raich).  So it's likely that the health care bill will be upheld as Constitutional.

However, there are certainly good arguments on both sides of this debate.


The 10th Amendment came up in the New York v. United States case where the court said that you could not tell the State how to spend resources regarding nuclear waste disposal. The same thing happened in Printz v. United States where the Fed could not force local police to enforce the Brady Bill. There were some other cases that I can't find that said the 10th amendment does not really mean anything though and it seems up in the air. I am not real sure how the health bill works, but I was under the impression it required states to direct resources towards the bill without a choice. 

I could definitely see a commerce clause argument come up. I agree with Hamilton on that it should be given a bit more clarity although it is a great way for Con Law Professors to give Exams :).

34
Recommendations / Re: LSAC Letter of Recommendation from four years ago
« on: January 25, 2011, 09:53:51 AM »
Iím in this same situation as a military officer separating and applying right now for law school.  After talking to law schools and experts, youíll need to be sure to flesh out your resume and donít cut corners on it, so itís clear where youíve been and what youíve done.  That said, once I told them about my situation they said theyíd like to have undergrad profsí LoRs, but work LoRs could be used as well.  In the end Iím using 1 undergrad prof, 1 work LoR and a refined resume.

Hope this helps!

35
Non-Traditional Students / Part Time - Law Review/Moot Court?
« on: January 25, 2011, 09:49:41 AM »
Is it possible/practical for a PT non-trad law student to actually succeed at law review/moot court?  I know that technically I can participate and Iím not blocked out by bylaws, but Iím concerned about long term impact of being part time on my chances of actually being successful at either.  Anyone with any experience in this?

36
Personal Statement / Re: 'Alternative' idea for a PS
« on: January 25, 2011, 08:59:42 AM »
I did manage to finish it and while it wasnt terrible, it is too close to gimmick status to use. 

Thanks for the feedback.

37
St. Marys / Anyone with experience attending StMU?
« on: January 20, 2011, 12:29:24 PM »
Due to family and the need to continue full time work I'll likely be attending St Mary's University part time starting this next fall (assuming scholarships go in my favor).  My decision came down to large debt load to attend elsewhere vs graduating with no debt (assuming post-9/11 GI bill and scholarship) but T4 status.

I suffer from the standard 0L's disease of assuming I'll graduate in the top X% of my class to make up for the T4, but no debt and a great legal community in San Antonio have persuaded me this is the right decision.  So I just want to see if anyone out there has experience in attending StMU, what the competition is like, how difficult it is to make law journal, and generally what it's like to attend St Mary's (part or full time).

38
Personal Statement / 'Alternative' idea for a PS
« on: January 20, 2011, 12:09:34 PM »
I've seen alot of PS that essentially repeat the resume, talk about what you've done and try to convey a little personality, but they usually fall into the "kitchen sink" routine where you tell them everything you've ever done.

I've got an idea for an alternative PS that would involve a 'letter' to my mother talking about life and my path to law school.  Catch is, my mother died when I was 2.  I'm writing it as a sort of look back on life, talking about growing up, my decision to enter the military and why I'm now separating and going to law school.  Throughout it would be just any old letter reminiscing, but the end is where I'd bring up her death and how it's impacted me.  It's not necessarily easy to pull off and the tone/voice/format are tough to put together, but my mother is one of the biggest motivations, so I want to bring that emotion into it. 

So one question, is this a stupid idea?  I know execution is hard and I'm not afraid of working and reworking to make it sound good, but is the idea just inherently stupid?

39
Affirmative Action / One mixed couple's views on racism and AA
« on: January 20, 2011, 11:28:32 AM »
My wife and I discussed this topic a little while back and as she is Hispanic (I'm white), I was interested to hear her point of view on the racial issues ongoing in our country. 

In particular what I found interesting was that while she has been discriminated against, she feels more frustrated with the Hispanic community than the white community.  Her experience has been that many Hispanics wanted to wear the 'victim' shirt and be treated as special.  Additionally, she noted that she had experienced the most racism not from whites, but from Hispanics that thought she was 'too white' or not 'hispanic enough'. 

We also discussed growing up and advantages.  I was not poor by any means, I was middle class, had several brothers/sisters and attended adequate public schools; she on the other hand came from the a richer family than mine, was an only child (and grandchild) and attended private schools for most of her youth.  So when it came time to go to college, there were far more factors than race at play in where we chose to attend.

So here is where I come back to AA and the reason I posted.

The two factors I have heard to justify AA are 1) ongoing racism and 2) the continuing impact of past racism.  But these factors assume that 1) the ongoing racism is external (from whites), and thus requiring forced favoritism, and 2) that the impact makes minorities more deserving than other disadvantaged groups. 

AA cant address the ongoing racism issue, it's too complicated and until we stop trying to tell people what they should be like based on their skin tone it wont end.  However, I think that some version of AA needs to account for disadvantaged groups, but should this exclude poor whites and include rich minorities?  Should it say that the descendant of a poor Irish immigrant is less deserving than the descendant of a rich Hispanic immigrant?

I donít know the solution, but the discourse deserves more than we've given it thus far.

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