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1
General Board / Re: Oil and Gas?
« on: April 07, 2007, 10:35:17 AM »
Oil and Gas was once a dreaded topic on the Texas Bar Exam (TBE), especially for those who went to law schools out-of-state. But from about 1990 until recently, the TBE essays in this area had not been as difficult as they had once been.

However, the practice area in Texas is undergoing a bit of a revival because of the high oil prices due to world events. Texas attorneys who do have significant oil and gas experience are in high demand right now. It wouldn't be surprising to see the TBE reflect the recent upsurge in demand by creating more sophisticated oil and gas essays on the TBE. 

It's true that you can't take every bar course while in law school.  If you are going to be taking the Texas bar,  BARBRI does a good job hitting the highlights in Oil and Gas law.  However, BARBRI is only a review course and it's hard to "review" something that you have never learned in the first place. I'm not saying impossible--it just takes more work. If you have never taken the oil and gas course and are concerned, there is an excellent book, entitled Primer on Texas Law of Oil and Gas law by Professor Joseph Shade. The primer is available from Lexis.  You can read the whole book in about two hours and it helps to know at least some of the oil and gas terms and concepts before you start the BARBRI course.




   

2
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Hornbooks?
« on: July 29, 2006, 10:08:15 AM »
West Publishing has its "Hornbook" series on topics such as Torts and Contracts.  Usually the hornbooks are written by professors who have also authored casebooks on those topics. These books are sometimes called a "treatise."

The term "hornbook" is actually an old term that dates back to when schoolchildren had their one-page lessons affixed on a board the size of a paddle. The one-page "lesson" that they were to memorize was underneath a piece of clear material that came from the horn of a cow.

The modern Hornbooks are usually hardcover books and several hundred pages long.  They are usually not state-specific.  Instead they try to show the "majority" rules and the "minority" rules by drawing from laws all over the United States. Most law school libraries do have several copies of the major hornbooks.

 

3
St. Marys / FOIA model statute and terrorism
« on: July 15, 2006, 11:55:21 AM »
Last week the Associated Press reported on the U.S. Department of Defense awarding a $1 million grant to St. Mary's University School of Law to research the Freedom of Information Act(FOIA) statute.  According to the Associated Press, some of the revisions will address the need to prevent terrorists from getting information from the federal government about electricity, sewer and water, and transportation systems. Dallas Morning News, 7/7/06. 

FOIA was enacted in 1966. FOIA allows requestors to get information from the federal government within specified timeframes. The original aim of FOIA was to ensure an "informed citizenry." Although individuals use FOIA to get information, many businesses also use FOIA to get information about other businesses. A wide variety of individuals and entities make requests for information from the federal government. Some of these requests can mean thousands of copies of documents. There is an obvious economic cost to government in terms of workload to respond to these requests. 

Open government proponents expressed some concerns this week regarding the project to draft a model FOIA statute. The Austin-American Statesman ran an editorial to that effect.  However the research seeks to determine how the spirit of FOIA facilitating information's free flow may have been compromised by new state laws. Several major newspapers also reported on the project.






4
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Primers and Commercial Outlines
« on: July 08, 2006, 10:00:33 AM »
I really like the Examples and Explanations series. The Contracts book by Blum is very good. The Civil Procedure book by Glannon is indispensable.

There is a debate about whether or not to read these books before school starts. Some students believe reading them early can hurt you because you may learn the material in a different way than how your professor teaches it.  Personally, I don't believe it hurts to read them during the summer before law school. However, I wouldn't try to memorize them or make outlines from them over the summer. Success in class really will depend on getting inside your particular professor's head, but reading one or two of the books over the summer for the concepts can be helpful.

5
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: MPRE
« on: June 24, 2006, 12:04:42 PM »
I recommend Barbri. If you can't take the course, get the book. The book has four practice tests with answers and explanations. The questions on the MPRE can be tricky. It helps to have practiced answering those types of questions beforehand.

6
The results of the February 2006 Texas Bar Exam for the first-time takers from Texas law schools are as follows:

1. Baylor        97% of their class passed
2. UT            92% of their class passed
3. SMU           89% of their class passed
4. Tex Wes       83% of their class passed
5. St. Mary's    81% of their class passed
6. U of Houston  79% of their class passed
7. South Texas   78% of their class passed
8. Tex. Southern 77% of their class passed
9. Texas Tech    74% of their class passed


7
St. Marys / February 2006 Texas Bar Exam results
« on: May 05, 2006, 07:48:10 PM »
The results of the February 2006 Texas Bar Exam for the first-time takers from Texas law schools are as follows:

1. Baylor        97% of their class passed
2. UT            92% of their class passed
3. SMU           89% of their class passed
4. Tex Wes       83% of their class passed
5. St. Mary's    81% of their class passed
6. U of Houston  79% of their class passed
7. South Texas   78% of their class passed
8. Tex. Southern 77% of their class passed
9. Texas Tech    74% of their class passed


8
General Board / Re: The Reality of the Forced Curve
« on: October 22, 2005, 11:02:27 AM »
Good point. I feel myself swaying to the other side. Really, I guess the only people who should be upset about a curve are the people at the bottom of it. It's way to early to tell where I'll fall on the curve, but I can think of a few people in my class I would definitely want to be differentiated from. I'll bet there's a few people who want to be differentiated from me.

Are there some students in your class that have impressed you? You mentioned the level of competition, but have any of the other students really impressed you with their grasp of the concepts? 


9
General Board / Re: Studying Time and how to spend it
« on: October 08, 2005, 11:14:13 PM »
Some of the posts above seem to be making the argument that the "T1" schools emphasize "policy" and that is what sets them apart from "non T1 schools." Of course, most students select their own courses for their second and third years. If you take a UCC course such as secured transactions, you may get some "policy" in the course, but you are going to spend more time dealing with that dense code. If a student chooses to take a clinic, how much "policy" is that student going to get out of that course?

Some courses simply lend themselves to policy while others do not.   

As far as "teaching to the bar" goes, the ABA discourages it for all law schools. That being said, many law schools, including some T1 schools, inform their students about the topics that are tested on the state bar. I don't care where you go to law school, taking several "bar" courses is beneficial. Barbri will be the first to tell you that it's a "bar review" course. It's hard to "review" something that you haven't learned in the first place. 



10
General Board / Re: Studying Time and how to spend it
« on: October 01, 2005, 06:33:55 PM »
It's amazing how a magazine like USNWR shapes (or warps) perceptions.  They didn't even have a USNWR rankings issue until after 1986. In less than 20 years, that magazine has so many people thinking there is a huge difference between a school ranked 48th and a school ranked 64th. People will even disrupt their lives and transfer schools just to chase something that is largely an illusion.

All this rankings nonsense detracts from the real purpose of law school: the study of Law. It's no comfort for the T1 student who fails the bar exam that he graduated from a school that was ranked a whole 10 spots higher than the school of someone else who passed. Students from every tier have to sit for the bar exam if they want to practice law. There aren't any guarantees in law school or in the practice of law.   

I also wouldn't underestimate the other people in your class in the first semester of law school. Until grades come out and the real "rankings" are established, everyone is a threat.

 
   

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