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32
bump.. new people check out the first post for the videos

33
Wow, that was great.  Thank you for this information!

No problem, if you have any other questions feel free to ask!

34
Finally, all of the cases in your casebooks, and the hypotheticals given by your professors in class will only have 1 issue in them... or maybe 2.  But on your exam, your hypo will have 15 of them.  If you have not practiced on fact patterns with so many issues before, then your exam will eat you alive.  You must, must must, find fact patterns before the exam, that include multiple issues.  Then practice spotting them, and keep doing this until you are really fast fast fast at spotting them.


Another thing, when you enter law school.. the first day (if you sit at the back of the class) you will notice that everyone will be taking notes in class in a pre-existing outline.  You will either be wondering "how do these people have outlines already" or you will be one of them.  If you are one of them, then you will have found a 2L that has taken the class before and has given you an old outline. You will then take this outline and think it is GOD.

Dont fall into this trap. Some people will be typing everything that the professor says... even the "ums and the uhs"
I call these the "transcriptionists".. Dont be that person either.

Buy Microsoft OneNote and create your different tabs, start a new sheet for each class, and label each sheet with "heading from outline if possible" and "date of class" ---> so later you can coordinate with your syllabus and the pages in your casebook which they correspond to...once you have this set up, then when your prof. talks about a case, type the cases name. a brief description of the facts, (ex. hubby that kills wife b/c she said she was cheating) then type the issue or args. of both sides, then what the court decides. (Maybe the "rationale" to)

And type anything important your prof. says about it.  this means, any test, majority, minority, any particular language the court used that is important, elements of a rule or test, etc.



Now let me talk about books once you get to LS... you need to buy your casebook obviously.. (color red probably)
then look to buy a "case brief" book, that is keyed to your casebook.  Keyed means it has the same cases your casebook has and it says it is for the author of your casebook.  (these books are worth their cost in Gold, for lack of a better description)... The only other thing I would consider buying is E and Es example and explamations books.. I use them from time to time, but sometimes I only open the book like 2 times in a semester.. they are hit or miss..

study groups are good, but law students like to act like they know what's going on but they really dont.  This is sometimes the deliberate intent of the student.. but the nature of the material breeds this type of behavior.  You might think you know something until you talk to someone else, then you realize that you have it all wrong.  But many times you will find that others have interpreted the material wrong, or have left something out of their analysis.

This is why you should be wary of groups.  You never know what you are going to get. (forest style)

It took me the first semester to learn the above... take the above and find what best works for you, and know that if you do then you will be 1 semester ahead of the others.. but that is only my opinion...

35
Thanks for your response! It was really helpful.  Another question for you... Do you recommend doing any sort of prep before classes start in August?   

First of all if you arent used to reading ALOT then you might need to rethink law school. Or get used to it really really quick.  Highlighters are your friend. Buy tons of them.

With that said, no you don't need to study anything before law school. Just method of studying.

Method of studying:
Everyone studies different ways. But let me describe to you what you are up against.

Imagine a class where they give you a textbook, and this textbook is like no other textbook you have ever seen before. 
The important thing to take notice of in this textbook is the first 10 pages which should be an outline of the textbook. The outline contains headings that guide you in what you will be taught throughout the semester. Starting the first day of class, take note of these heading and make sure you know which heading your professor is talking about that day.

You will be assigned 20-30 pages per day per class of reading to do... in this reading you will encounter about 5 cases and notes on these cases.  You will encounter said heading, and then a brief description of what the case will be about, then the case will follow... when you read the case, you will first be presented with the procedural history (Defendant appeals from a guilty verdict by trial court) this is not that important.  What is important is the arguments that each side makes upon appeal.  Look for this in the case.  And highlight or type it in your computer.
Then you will encounter the facts of the case (Def. killed wife when she told him she was cheating), this is obviously important but not as important as the arguments based on these facts.  Then the court will talk about the arguments of both sides and give a few cases that are either precedent (binding authority on the court) or persuasive authority (not binding). These precedents are important because they will give you insight as to why the court ruled they way they did. Then the court will state it's verdict. (this is obviously important). Then the court will talk about why they made this verdict... this is what I call the "rationale".  (this can include anything, ranging from legislative intent of a statute, to moral underpinnings of society, to racial tensions of that time period)... This is important to note because some professors will ask you "policy questions" on your exams, and if you have an arsenal of these "rationales" then you will do ok.

When you read a case, do not take it as the law of the land.  Read the case, note the above, but then proceed to the NOTES section right after the case... the NOTES section should tell you whether this verdict or opinion of the court is the "minority" view or the "majority" view.  Sometimes the casebook is written such that a case is presented but in the notes section, they say "almost no American jurisdictions have adopted the view of this court". I know, WTF?

You just have to pay attention and note that this "other view" exists, and on an exam be able to notice a fact pattern that presents similar facts, and argue the "other view" and also argue the "majority view".

Casebooks are full of "tests" that courts use in certain situations. Note these tests and be able to argue all of them.

Your exams are usually 1st half multiple choice and 2nd half essay. Multiple choice is easy if you know the material. But the writing gets people if you dont know what you are doing.  Learn to put your thoughts into a computer. (most important thing you can learn before law school) Because once the horserace that is lawschool starts, you will have little time to learn it. 

Your first year exams will mostly have the "racehorse" essay exam questions... this means that you will have to spot the issues, all the issues, in a convoluted fact pattern... You may think the professor is looking for an in depth analysis, but picture this.... a professor sitting there with a checklist of all the point, or issues that he thinks you should have written about... and each point or issue has 2-3 points attached to it.  If you mention the issue or point, then you are awarded that 2-3 points on the exam.. at the end of the exam, the professor adds up all of your points and compares you to the rest of the class.. if you fall in the middle you get all B's or whatever your schools curve is... if you did substantially better than the rest, then you get and A. 

I cannot tell you how to prepare for law school, but when presented with the above facts, can you devise a plan that will give you an edge?  What do you think you need to improve on to help you excel in the above circumstances?
Every individual is different, and everyone needs to improve of different things to be successful in lawschool because we are coming from different backgrounds. All I can do is try and show you what you are up against... the material is no that hard, you just have to know how the information will be presented to you.. NO ONE WILL TELL YOU THIS. This is what they mean when you hear people say that professors "play hide the ball" in class... they dont tell you what you need to know... They (the professors) just discuss the cases with you, and the different arguments presented in those cases... then the prof. might change the facts of the case a little bit "what if the wife had said that she was going to cheat on him, instead of cheated in the past tense?) Murder? or vol. manslaughter? What about under the Model Penal Code?  What does the Provocation formula say about this? What are the differing views on the provocation formula?

In your casebook, you would have read about a man that killed his wife upon her telling him that she had cheated on him , the court ruled that words cannot constitute adequate provocation to mitigate murder, to vol. manslaughter..(see, provocation formula provides a defense against murder, which reduces the sentence to vol. manslaughter)... then you will read another case where a man follows his wife to the woods, and sees her and another man enter the woods and come out of the woods 30 min. later.  Then he follows his wife to a bar, and right before entering the bar the husbands friend tells him that the wife has been cheating on him... so he goes in the bar and kills the guy that went in the woods with his wife, court rules that this IS adequate provocation.  The NOTES section of the casebook will say, when the 1st ruling was decided, words could never constitute provocation to mitigate murder, but the prevailing view includes the facts of both cases, with a minority of jurisdictions retaining the 1st cases view.

Do you get kinda what you are looking for? The professor will give you the general elements (things that will satifsy) the provocation formula, but it is your job to take down the min. an maj. view. and the elements presented in class.





36
Thanks for your response! It was really helpful.  Another question for you... Do you recommend doing any sort of prep before classes start in August?   

First of all if you arent used to reading ALOT then you might need to rethink law school. Or get used to it really really quick.  Highlighters are your friend. Buy tons of them.

With that said, no you don't need to study anything before law school. Just method of studying.

Method of studying:
Everyone studies different ways. But let me describe to you what you are up against.

Imagine a class where they give you a textbook, and this textbook is like no other textbook you have ever seen before. 
The important thing to take notice of in this textbook is the first 10 pages which should be an outline of the textbook. The outline contains headings that guide you in what you will be taught throughout the semester. Starting the first day of class, take note of these heading and make sure you know which heading your professor is talking about that day.

You will be assigned 20-30 pages per day per class of reading to do... in this reading you will encounter about 5 cases and notes on these cases.  You will encounter said heading, and then a brief description of what the case will be about, then the case will follow... when you read the case, you will first be presented with the procedural history (Defendant appeals from a guilty verdict by trial court) this is not that important.  What is important is the arguments that each side makes upon appeal.  Look for this in the case.  And highlight or type it in your computer.
Then you will encounter the facts of the case (Def. killed wife when she told him she was cheating), this is obviously important but not as important as the arguments based on these facts.  Then the court will talk about the arguments of both sides and give a few cases that are either precedent (binding authority on the court) or persuasive authority (not binding). These precedents are important because they will give you insight as to why the court ruled they way they did. Then the court will state it's verdict. (this is obviously important). Then the court will talk about why they made this verdict... this is what I call the "rationale".  (this can include anything, ranging from legislative intent of a statute, to moral underpinnings of society, to racial tensions of that time period)... This is important to note because some professors will ask you "policy questions" on your exams, and if you have an arsenal of these "rationales" then you will do ok.

When you read a case, do not take it as the law of the land.  Read the case, note the above, but then proceed to the NOTES section right after the case... the NOTES section should tell you whether this verdict or opinion of the court is the "minority" view or the "majority" view.  Sometimes the casebook is written such that a case is presented but in the notes section, they say "almost no American jurisdictions have adopted the view of this court". I know, WTF?

You just have to pay attention and note that this "other view" exists, and on an exam be able to notice a fact pattern that presents similar facts, and argue the "other view" and also argue the "majority view".

Casebooks are full of "tests" that courts use in certain situations. Note these tests and be able to argue all of them.

Your exams are usually 1st half multiple choice and 2nd half essay. Multiple choice is easy if you know the material. But the writing gets people if you dont know what you are doing.  Learn to put your thoughts into a computer. (most important thing you can learn before law school) Because once the horserace that is lawschool starts, you will have little time to learn it. 

Your first year exams will mostly have the "racehorse" essay exam questions... this means that you will have to spot the issues, all the issues, in a convoluted fact pattern... You may think the professor is looking for an in depth analysis, but picture this.... a professor sitting there with a checklist of all the point, or issues that he thinks you should have written about... and each point or issue has 2-3 points attached to it.  If you mention the issue or point, then you are awarded that 2-3 points on the exam.. at the end of the exam, the professor adds up all of your points and compares you to the rest of the class.. if you fall in the middle you get all B's or whatever your schools curve is... if you did substantially better than the rest, then you get and A. 

I cannot tell you how to prepare for law school, but when presented with the above facts, can you devise a plan that will give you an edge?  What do you think you need to improve on to help you excel in the above circumstances?
Every individual is different, and everyone needs to improve of different things to be successful in lawschool because we are coming from different backgrounds. All I can do is try and show you what you are up against... the material is no that hard, you just have to know how the information will be presented to you.. NO ONE WILL TELL YOU THIS. This is what they mean when you hear people say that professors "play hide the ball" in class... they dont tell you what you need to know... They (the professors) just discuss the cases with you, and the different arguments presented in those cases... then the prof. might change the facts of the case a little bit "what if the wife had said that she was going to cheat on him, instead of cheated in the past tense?) Murder? or vol. manslaughter? What about under the Model Penal Code?  What does the Provocation formula say about this? What are the differing views on the provocation formula?

In your casebook, you would have read about a man that killed his wife upon her telling him that she had cheated on him , the court ruled that words cannot constitute adequate provocation to mitigate murder, to vol. manslaughter..(see, provocation formula provides a defense against murder, which reduces the sentence to vol. manslaughter)... then you will read another case where a man follows his wife to the woods, and sees her and another man enter the woods and come out of the woods 30 min. later.  Then he follows his wife to a bar, and right before entering the bar the husbands friend tells him that the wife has been cheating on him... so he goes in the bar and kills the guy that went in the woods with his wife, court rules that this IS adequate provocation.  The NOTES section of the casebook will say, when the 1st ruling was decided, words could never constitute provocation to mitigate murder, but the prevailing view includes the facts of both cases, with a minority of jurisdictions retaining the 1st cases view.

Do you get kinda what you are looking for? The professor will give you the general elements (things that will satifsy) the provocation formula, but it is your job to take down the min. an maj. view. and the elements presented in class.




38
Summer job?

I currently work for a firm.  And the employment is not temporary.  I will probably be at my firm through the summer.

39
My post disappeared as well...hopefully it works this time.

Hey thanks for taking the time out to answer some questions!  I am currently deciding between San Diego and Hastings, but leaning towards San Diego.  I went out to visit San Diego last week, but was only able to stay for 2 days, so I didn't get a very in depth experience of the city, but what I did see, I really liked.  Anyways, my boyfriend and I will be living together and he surfs, so we were thinking of moving to Mission Beach.  Do you know when is the absolute latest that I should look for housing?  Is it reasonable to expect to move out there in early August and be able to find a place in a few days, or should I just search online and obtain a place that way?  Do you and most of your friends have summer jobs yet? Is it difficult to find one that pays?  How much time do you spend studying each week? How social are your classmates? I won't know anyone except my SO in San Diego, so i'm hoping to make friends...assuming I have time to even have friends!  I was awarded federal work study.  Do you know if it would be a mistake to work a few hours each week on campus the first year, or should I just borrow the money instead? What do you like best about USD? What do you like the least about USD?  About how much did you spend on books each semester? How accessible are the professors?  Ok, I think that's it for now. Feel free to add any additional info!  Thanks!


Do you know when is the absolute latest that I should look for housing? 


See the above post for a good housing description.. but for the most part right now just look on craigslist and the like, to get the feel of what you will be able to afford, and which location you would like to live.  Use www.maps.google.com to see how far the location is from school.  I personally prefer no commute so I live about 3 miles from school. 

Is it reasonable to expect to move out there in early August and be able to find a place in a few days, or should I just search online and obtain a place that way?


If you are within driving distance, then you have it made.  It is the out of staters that will have the problems... you can just drive in to San Diego and look and lease type deal.  Or look at a complex and find the one you like a month prior to move in, and put a deposit down... out of staters will have to either fly in and find a place ahead of time... rely on roommates that are in San Diego to pick a place... blindly pick a place online (DO NOT DO THIS).... or just throw caution into the wind and move all your stuff to San Diego and stay in a motel for a couple days while you pick a place (I took this option)

Do you and most of your friends have summer jobs yet?

I am in the part time program, so a lot of my friends already have jobs.  Some friends havent even tired to find a job, and all of the ones that have tried to find work have found work.  This is my second semester of part time program and I got my law clerk position early my second semester(this semester).  It has only been about 5 weeks and I have already written 5 memos for the firm among other things. The firm did not require me to show them my first semester grades, but they did ask me to write a memo in 24 hours.  They called me at about 5 pm while I was in the library and said they would like a memo on a contract issue before 5pm the next day. The partner said that he had 4 other applicants working of the same issue, and he was going to use this "real world" writing experience to judge who to hire. I worked all the next day at my other job (I teach), so I stayed up late until 2am doing the memo then turned it in praying it was decent.  Didnt get a call back until about 5 days later.. The partner said that he had one of the attorneys in the office write on the same issue too, and mine was very similar to the attorneys memo, so I got the job. 

Career services is good because toward the end of the first semester they make you meet with them and they go over your resume, and they make corrections and have you write a cover letter and redo the resume.  There is a website called symplicity where legal jobs are posted for students... this is how I got my job at my firm.

Is it difficult to find one that pays? 

My job pays, I dont know anyone that is not being paid... USD is the top school within 100 mile radius or more. So we have the pick of the legal jobs during the year.  We compete with cal western and thomas jefferson which are T4.

How much time do you spend studying each week?


I read the book, and book brief with different color highlighters, work on lawyers skills memos and briefs, then every few weeks update my outline.  I would say outside of class I spend about 3 hours per day during the week reading/studying and on the weekend probably about 4-5hrs each day but it varies throughout the semester. 

How social are your classmates?

Everyone is nice, I am one of the married ones, so I hang with other married guys... there def. is a single crowd that goes out to the bars every Thurday night for bar review and the like.  There are TONS of socialize/networking events, there are so many, I lose track of them all... seems like all of them have a keg or wine and cheese..lol.

I won't know anyone except my SO in San Diego, so i'm hoping to make friends...assuming I have time to even have friends!  I was awarded federal work study.  Do you know if it would be a mistake to work a few hours each week on campus the first year, or should I just borrow the money instead?

I have heard good things about work study... usually they place you in the library (you can work on school stuff and law review most of the time)  or the career services office, etc..  With that said, even the part time program is quite hectic, so if you are fulltime I would think long and hard about working and doing school.  But if you think you can handle it, then more power to you.

What do you like best about USD?
I like my professors the most. They are very intriguing. They all have their different personalities that make the class interesting.  If you look into some of their backgrounds you will see that they are leaders on the subject.. Check out a prof last name Strong.  I am taking him for criminal right now and he is the best.  USD was ranked 22 not too long about in faculty rankings.  They are attracted to the sunny weather and beaches I think lol..

What do you like the least about USD? 
I hate the nazi meter maids running around here... I have already paid $100 in fines (2 tickets)... If you can only park in a spot after 5pm.. then dont think they wont notice if you pull in at 4:55pm.  This is how I got my two tickets, thinking "they wont find me in 5 minutes".. I think they have cameras or something...


About how much did you spend on books each semester?

I bought all of my books new so they wouldnt have highlights in them.. So expect to spend out $450.  If you get used ones you could come out around $250 if you are lucky. (that is for part time program though)  Fulltime takes 1-2 classes more than part-time so if books v. price is linear in nature then that means you should expect.. 450/x=3/4 or 450/x=3/5   and  250/x=3/4 or 250/x=3/5  Then just solve for x to find the answer.

How accessible are the professors?
Every prof, has an email, and they are good about responding.. They all have office hours, and generally no one goes...
They also have TA's which hold office hours, and again no one really goes.. you might go to see them and they only have one person the whole session.  But then again, I myself rarely go, so I am just basing this on what I have seen of those occasions. 

40
Why do my posts keep disappearing?!?!

I have some questions:

1) Did you receive a scholarship there?  If so, what was the requirement to keep it?

(I have to be in the top third to keep it, and I want to see if I can knock it down to the top half.)

2) What type of jobs are you looking at if you're top third? Top half? Bottom half?

3) How is the COL in San Diego? (I know it's high!)   What is the housing situation for law students?

Thanks!

1. Not really sure about scholarships... I have heard that they are willing to negotiate schollys if you were offered money from other schools.  Just give them a call and tell them that you like the school but money is a major issue. Tell them that XXX school is giving you this much and you were wondering if they could meet or beat it.

2. I have a science background and will be doing IP/patent.  The career services told me that if I wanted to do Patent prosecution and wanted big firm, then I would need to be top 50%.  If I wanted to do IP litigation (which is more fun but more work) then I would need to be top 30%.  I suspect for other areas of law it may be harder.. but this is my experience.  We do have a lot of networking events on campus where the big firms come and do panels and socializing afterwards... 

3. If you get roommates then it isn't bad.  I live with 3 people in a very nice place in mission valley and each roommate pays $750. You can find decent places for $700/unit... The more roommates you get the cheaper it will be.  If you are in a 2 bedroom, you probably will be paying $800/month if you want a nice place. 
Try http://sandiego.craigslist.org/apa/
And http://sandiego.craigslist.org/roo/

Here are a couple of really nice places
http://www.promenadeliving.com/homeset.html (this is where I live)

http://www.rent.com/rentals/california/san-diego-and-vicinity/san-diego/mission-valley/529344/?sp=1&searchrank=7

If you dont mind using a laundry facility, then you can find some really neat places by the beach for reasonable prices.  They wont be nice (classy) like the above... but they will be fun! 

The one thing about the San Diego renters market is that properties go really really really quick.  Example: you might be talking to someone one day and you tell them you want to come see it tomorrow at 5pm.  You get there and they tell you that someone already rented it.  That happened to me numerous times.  So unless you want to put a deposit down somewhere then you better be willing to look and lease because it will most likely get snatched up if it is any kind of deal.

Of course there are properties that are WAAAAAAYY over priced and they just sit forever... But the ones that I was interested in were somewhat of a deal,.. so they got taken quick.  What we ended up doing was driving to san diego, stayed in a motel for a couple days while we found a place. 

If you are looking for roommates, then the school sends out a roommate list about a month before classes start.  It has phone numbers etc.


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