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Incoming 1Ls / Re: Ex-1L Student's Advice
« on: January 08, 2005, 09:49:02 PM »
"E&E" stands for The Examples and Explanations Series, published by Aspen Publishing. Personally, these books were my weapons of choice.  The Examples and Explanations Civil Procedure by Glannon is great. I know there is some debate about reading materials before law school, but I would recommend reading the E&E Glannon book to understand the major topics covered in most Civil Procedure classes.  I write this because it is focused on federal Civil Procedure, not state specific Civil Procedure.  The downside is that the E&E books are long. You read the chapters and then read the examples and then the explanations.  They help with "issue spotting" while explaining the topics such as minimum contacts and Eerie Analysis. They also don't come cheap; however most law school libraries have copies that can be checked out. I really liked the E&E books.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Ex-1L Student's Advice
« on: January 07, 2005, 10:39:28 PM »
The Bluebook is something that many come to eventually appreciate because it is amazing how much they have crammed in there.  The Bluebook is compiled by the editors of the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal.

A basic example of just some of the information that is in the Bluebook is as follows:

Citation of a U.S. Supreme Court case:

Meritor Sav. Bank v. Vinson 477 U.S. 57, 60 (1986).

The Bluebook tells you that there must be a space before and after the "v." There must be a period after the "v" and so on.  If you have never looked up a case before, the "477" is Volume Number 477 of the U.S. Reporter.  If you have ever looked at a shelf of law books, you see the volume number on the spines of the books. So when searching for this case, scan the spines for the number 477.  The U.S. Reporter is a collection of hundreds of U.S. Supreme Court cases so when you find volume 477 on the shelf, pull the book.  The 57 is the page number of the first page of the case called Meritor Sav. Bank v. Vinson. So open Volume 477 and turn to page 57.  This page will have the title or "style" of the case.  The 60 is a specific page reference to a line or passage in the case that you want to cite.  If you just want to refer someone to the entire case, leave off the 60. The 1986 is the year of the decision. The Bluebook provides citation forms for hundreds of documents, not just cases.

By the way, if you are going to law school in Texas, there is also a Greenbook for Texas state cases and documents.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Calling all Texans...
« on: January 07, 2005, 10:07:04 PM »
Texas Tech has had consistently strong scores on the Texas Bar Exam. For the July 2003 Texas Bar Exam the individual who had the highest score in the state graduated from Texas Tech Law School. 

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Calling all Texans...
« on: January 07, 2005, 07:48:00 PM »
One more thought about Baylor.  Baylor operates on a quarter system. I have often wondered if this is a factor in their strong bar passage rate. Most ABA approved law school professors teach twelve credit hours during an academic year. Baylor requires its faculty to teach nearly twenty-four quarter hours per academic year, translating into more teaching than the 12 credit hour load, somewhere around twenty-one semester hours per academic year. Teaching time, of course, competes with research, writing, and publishing time.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Pre-LS books
« on: January 01, 2005, 10:27:14 AM »
I don't have any hard data on how many don't take any bar prep course and pass.  Barbri claims that over 600,000 students have used them to prepare for bar exams (kind of like McDonald's claims of billions and billions served, right?) 

Also, I'm not sure what state you are interested in.  Some states have really high bar passage rates (e.g., Mississippi usually has a 90 percent pass rates for all first time takers; other states have lower pass rate such as Indiana which has about a 79 percent first time taker pass rate for a July exam--I don't know how many did and did not take a bar prep course).  In other states, such as California, you see really low first time taker bar passage rates.  California and New York have the reputation of being the hardest bar exams. 

I have a friend who graduated from UT law school.  She said she did not have the money for barbri but she borrowed the books from other friends and passed the Texas bar exam.  That is just one story I can think of.  However, for most people, the Barbri course provides a structure for the two and a half months most people use to study for the bar exam. . The course is more than just outlines in books.  The course offers a simulated MBE under timed conditions complete with scantrons to give you the look and the feel of the real thing. Barbri also provides lectures on the topics.  In Texas, the entire Texas bar exam tests on about 26 specific topics.  This is an enormous amount of material and the Barbri course helps you move through it.  So, you may be able to get by without a bar prep course, but WHY put yourself at a disadvantage?  You just spend all that money to go to law school, so just bite the bullet and pay more to give yourself every chance of passing it on the first try.  That's just my opinion...

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Pre-LS books
« on: January 01, 2005, 09:48:36 AM »
A couple of points about Barbri.   First, Barbri is a national company and they provide state-specific materials for state bar exams. I will use Texas as the example in this post, but if you don't care about Texas, just supply the state you do care about. 

Second, Barbri is probably the largest and most used bar preparation couse on law school campuses nationwide.  There are others, but in the end, most law students go with Barbri.  As a One-L there will be Barbri representatives around your campus.  You can sign up for Barbri your first year and "lock in" the price for the entire course when you need it after you graduate.  I believe the cost for signing up is between $75 and $150 your first year.  If you do this, you "lock in" the current price that Barbri is charging the 3Ls on your campus that year.  In other words, for an initial payment, the price you will eventually be charged in three years will be the same for the year you "locked in."  Some law students who don't make up their minds to go with Barbri until their third year and then end up signing up for Barbri as 3Ls have to pay sometimes as much as $250 more than their peers who "locked in" their first year.  You see, the cost for the Barbri  bar prep course keeps increasing, usually by about $125 a year.  I believe the cost for the entire course is now over $2,200.00. When you "lock in" your price your first year, you also get a Barbri First Year review book full of first year topic outlines (contracts, torts, federal civil procedure, criminal law, property).  The outlines are good, but they are really geared for the bar exam.  For law school purposes, they help you to organize the notes you have taken from your professor when you do your own outlines but they cannot be used by themselves to study for your law school exams. 

The material tested on the bar exam is different than what you learn in law school.  This fact surprises most people: the most important part of the Texas bar exam (or really almost any state bar exam) does not test on Texas or state-specific law.  The most important part of the bar exam in almost all states is the Multistate Bar Exam ("MBE")--a 200 question multiple choice exam brought to you by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.  This test tests on "majority rules" and "minority rules."  A majority rule is a rule of law that applies in most states of the country.  A minority rule means a rule a few states, but not  most, apply.  The MBE also tests on the FEDERAL rules of Evidence. If you are trying a case in a Texas state court, you would use the TEXAS Rules of Evidence.  The MBE only tests on the FEDERAL rules of Evidence.  So, the Barbri outlines do you give a sense of the structure of a topic, but if your law school professor emphasizes the rules of law in the state where the law school is located, the rule shown in the Barbri outline may not necessarily be the state specific rule. The bar exam may have a question where the right answer for the MBE would be the wrong answer if you were applying Texas law.

In your second year of law school, Barbri also gives you as part of "locking in" your price your first year, a second year state-specific outline book.  This book contains state-specific outlines for upper division topics such as Wills, and state Civil Procedure.  These books are slightlly more helpful for studying in law school, but I would still suggest doing one's own outlines and using the Barbri outlines more as a guide for which subtopics fall under more general topics.  All this being said, Barbri is just about essential for most people in law school and for those studying for the bar exam. 

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Calling all Texans...
« on: December 31, 2004, 08:24:03 AM »
Personally, I think that Baylor and UT have established reputations and both are appropriately ranked in the top 3 of the Texas law schools.  Some of their reputation is historical, but they have excellent programs. Baylor keeps its litigation boot camp reputation in good repair.  UT has the advantage of being a public school. It is a great education for its price. The demand to get into UT is so great that they can afford to be extremely selective.  Extreme selectivity means they want an extremely high LSAT.  LSAT scores are by far the greatest factor in the USNWR "tier" rankings.  UH has come a long way in the last 10 years. They have achieved a great deal. Again, they are a public school so they are more affordable.  SMU, on the other hand, has been "giving them a run for their money." Finanicial considerations have to come into play when considering the two schools. SMU has been the most expensive law school in Texas for a while. SMU has some excellent professors such as Dorsaneo.  UH, of course, has healthcare and oil and gas expertise.  On some days, I wonder about comparing SMU and Texas Tech. Texas Tech deserves credit for its history of strong bar passage rates.  It's public so they have an advantage of being more affordable. The legal market in Lubbock is not as large as the other major cities. St. Mary's is in San Antonio, a major Texas city.  However, its legal market is not as large as Houston or Dallas. St. Mary's had an historical reputation for strong bar passage rates, but its reputation got a little tarnished in the last 10 years or so because the school shifted from its traditional focus and its bar passage rates suffered. However, in recent years they self-corrected and their July bar passage rate numbers have been rising dramatically. St. Mary's achieved an eighty percent bar passage rate for the July 2004 Texas bar exam. Additionally, St. Mary's was recognized over the past several years in national and regional competitions by winning: the 2002 National Championship at the ABA Appellate Advocacy Competition; the Regional Championship at the Mock Trial Competition; the Texas Young Lawyers Association Moot Court Competition; the ABA Regional Mediation and Negotiation Competition; and the Lone Star Classic National Mock Trial Tournament three years in a row. They have a rich history and in San Antonio the vast majority of the bar and the judiciary are St. Mary's graduates.  They also have an alumn who is a U.S. Senator. The St. Mary's alumni base is supportive of the school and St. Mary's graduates receive a preference over other schools in San Antonio.  St. Mary's is private and they are expensive so that has to be a consideration.  South Texas has come up from their historical position and they have some name professors (e.g. Byron Davis) and now Chief Justice Phillips.  They are strong in Houston and they maintain a sharp litigation program. They are also a large program with large classes. Texas Wesleyan is the new school on the block.  The program made some good choices in their approach. Obviously, they do not have the alumni base that some of the other schools have because they became ABA accredited in the mid to late 1990s.   Texas Southern has a unique mission.  They have an alumni base and they have graduates who are judges and powerful legislators. Their admissions process accomodates many who have the desire to go to law school and then, judging by the numbers they graduate, they expect those individuals to prove themselves.  Rankings have to be somewhat more fluid than what the USNWR rankings suggest because of the many considerations that come into play when deciding where to go to law school.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: UNT to open law school in Dallas
« on: December 18, 2004, 09:58:00 AM »
In light of the fact that Dallas is somewhat of a shrine to conspiracy theorists in general, I would opine that a law school with SMU's clout could muster the kind of political persuasion necessary to get its way on the issue.  I suppose one would need to ask whether another law school in Dallas is in the best interests of the law schools that are already there.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: UNT to open law school in Dallas
« on: December 18, 2004, 08:20:23 AM »
The decision to allow a public law school in Dallas will fall to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  In the past, the Board has been very conservative in its decisions.  A few years ago, South Texas College of Law (a private institution) attempted to affiliate with Texas A&M University (a public institution).  People were wearing T-shirts, there were newspaper articles, and a great many rumors were taking on a life of their own, but in the end, the Board rejected the idea.  Texas already has nine law schools.   

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Average Across The Board... YIKES!
« on: November 14, 2004, 04:12:41 PM »
The "rankings" listed above are incorrect. Please note that South Texas and Texas Southern are different schools.

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