Law School Discussion

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Messages - Pearl

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Frankly, I'm stunned that this would even be an ISSUE at a reputable school. Kids getting distracted by the internet? Just fail 'em. Don't even BOTHER with an on-campus rule about how they're not allowed to try to get distracted.


You assume that students who don't pay attention 100% of the time in class aren't learning the material/analysis, which definitely isn't always the case.

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Just out of curiosity, why does anyone need Black's at all after the first few weeks of law school?

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Also, IMO it's not a big deal if you don't make your own outline - I made my own outline for one class this entire year, and don't really see how it was that different than what I did for every other class - just used a good outline from someone who had the same prof the year before, and then thoroughly went through it and added and modified as needed. It saves a lot of time and for me personally it worked just as well.

Do others feel this same way?  It seems appropriate not to reinvent the wheel.

I preferred to make my own outlines, rarely looking at previous students' outlines.  Doing so helped me learn the material better, I think, than if I had just modified older outlines.  I made almost all of my outlines relatively late in the semester (about 3 weeks before finals), so the information was still pretty fresh in my head by the time exams rolled around.  It did take a lot of time (about 20 hours each), but I liked organizing my thoughts.  It was more beneficial for open-notes exams (I had 3 first year).

Yeah, making your own outline forces you to grapple with the material and learn it inside out.  When you use someone elses outline you may know law but not necessarily the analysis process, which is where most of your grade will come from.  Perhaps look at an older outline to see how other people charted out the course but I wouldn't rely on it 100%.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that you shouldn't rely on someone else's outline 100%. I still probably spent about 10-12 hours adding and modifying things. I think it would take me longer than 20 hours to make my own - I'm just slow when it comes to things like that, so using someone else's really did save a ton of time. For me using an old outline freed up time for practice exams, which is where the "analysis process" is really honed IMO.

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I used it for the first week of school and never picked it up again after that.

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You should be drinking so much it pains your liver to think about alcohol.  You should be on a beach somewhere.  You should be enjoying what social skills you have before they leave you.  I could continue, but you get my point.  Enjoy your life before it ends.

Thanks.  I can't wait for school now!  :o

eh, i didn't find it as bad as that. I think you're best served by doing things that you actually won't get a chance to do during school. While there's plenty of time in law school to relax and watch TV or go out to dinner with friends, your guilt if nothing else will probably keep you from doing anything that takes half a day or more. Take a vacation, play golf (i agree that's unlikely to happen much during law school), etc.

Also, I'd get into good life habits before you start law school. For example, don't think you're going to go to law school and suddenly start to exercise. Make it a habit beforehand.

I couldn't agree more!!!

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Oh the places you'll go! By Dr. Seuss

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Sometimes the professor goes off on really boring tangents, and having my laptop in class helps me to multitask and catch up on email during these times.

only sort of kidding... actually not really kidding at all

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Wow that is really nice to write all of that out! A lot of good advice. I would second much of what the OP said, especially the stuff about doing lots of practice tests. I think first semester a lot of people are so stressed out about perfecting their outline that they don't save any time for taking enough practice tests... I really think that's the key to being as prepared as possible for the real exam. I agree with the OP that group study isn't really that great except for when you are going over old exams... but I know others who swear by study groups... I guess it's a personal preference.

The only thing I would say that might be a little different is don't stress if you don't have the time/money to invest in so many commercial outlines and outside material. Whether they are helpful or not largely depends on the course and the professor. I found them very helpful in some classes, but didn't use them at all for others, and I think they would have actually been a detriment in a couple of my first year classes because of the professor's expectations and teaching style. Also, I never understood spending so much time with these "how to do well on exams" books, but I guess other people find them helpful. I think a lot of this stuff is personal preference, but don't stress out if you aren't able to (or like me, don't want to) spend so much time with commercial stuff.

Also, IMO it's not a big deal if you don't make your own outline - I made my own outline for one class this entire year, and don't really see how it was that different than what I did for every other class - just used a good outline from someone who had the same prof the year before, and then thoroughly went through it and added and modified as needed. It saves a lot of time and for me personally it worked just as well.

I think one of the most overlooked things is to maintain some "you" time and keep doing the hobbies that you enjoyed doing before law school. Law school can be really stressful, but spending some time away from law school and doing the things you like - it doesn't take away from law school, it just provides you with more balance as well as lower stress during the time that you actually do spend on studying. During exam period I started scheduling more "me" time, not less, and it paid off immensely via lower stress and a clearer mind going into the exam.

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It's really not a big deal - I went to "senior day" and it still has all the pomp & circumstance of a regular "graduation," complete with professors in silly robes, a cool band (actually playing pomp & circumstance), the march in, the speakers, the "hooding" ceremony, walking across the stage, etc... it was actually quite awesome and inspiring. In fact, I'm sure 99% of grandmas in the audience were completely unaware that no diplomas were awarded.

I don't know any other way they could do it - due to the nature of law school grading, you can't just grade 3Ls first - then the prof would know who the 3Ls were, and would have to guess at what the curve would be. Plus, some of the SO's friends were still working on seminar papers as recently as last week, I believe.

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Summer starters are Class of '10, or Class of '11?

Class of '11. Michigan graduates the summer class in February, I think.

No, it's in December.  Last semester graduation was the day after our last final.

Senior Day is in December. But when's the degree officially awarded? Since grades aren't due for their final semester until over a month after Senior Day, it seems logical that the degree would actually be awarded in February, unless it's handled retroactively.

My roommate's graduating this winter, and he says he has no idea how to answer this question.

Senior Day is graduation.  See http://www.law.umich.edu/seniorday/Pages/default.aspx.  Unless they mail degrees to everyone (ie, both fall and winter grads), they must have an earlier deadline for graduating 3L's, since winter graduation was also 2 days after the last day of exams, well before final grades are due.   Therefore, the process should be the same for both semesters.  I would assume that degrees are officially conferred at graduation (ie Sr Day) for both semesters.

Actually, degrees are not officially conferred on Senior Day because it's usually unknown at that time whether the person actually graduated due to grades not being back and also many 3Ls not being finished with seminar papers yet... that's why it's called "senior day" and not "commencement" or "graduation." Instead of a diploma, you get a "certificate of membership in the lawyers' club" or something... lame... anyway I'm not sure how that affects the date of your degree. The reason they have senior day right around the time of "graduation" is so the families can come and have the ceremony and all that, but it doesn't really mean anything officially. Maybe once you get your diploma they still date it as being given on Senior Day, I'm really not sure.

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