« on: March 03, 2005, 01:11:19 PM »
I read this on another discussion site. Will any 2L's or 3L's comment on this. Seems radically different that the approaches mentioned on this board.
"advice to the 1L's out there
I'm now a 2L and I ended up in the top 3% of my class. I see some 1L's on here asking for advice, so here's mine.
Succeeding in law school is all about WHAT you study not HOW MUCH you study. Other than during the month before finals, I didn't spend more than 2-3 hours a day on law school outside of class. Spending huge quantities of time isn't necessary. I know people who spent 12 hours a day studying... and failed out. Me, I like my free time. I like to hang out with my girlfriend, go to the gym, go out, play xbox, drink beer, etc. So I make sure that every second I spend on law school is efficient.
In the interest of saving time and being a lazy ass, you can get by with reading the case notes on the case. Don't brief cases. Tear out the case notes and put them in a binder. Your prof won't know the difference. I think the High Court Case Summaries are by far the best. Your brief will never be as good as those anyway. The exception to this rule is probably Con Law. Actually read those cases. It's sort of interesting to see what utterly amazingly good bullshitters these supreme court judges are.
Regardless of whether you read the case notes or the actual case, always read the notes after the case in your case book. Professors love to take hypos from there, and those notes often summarize difficult concepts quite nicely. Once you complete a section, bust out your supplement of choice and review that section. Do the practice question on that section as well. This will help cement that point of law into your head. All the top students I know did this.
People learn at different paces. If you're not as quick picking up new concepts as others, then I think you should buy the Sum and Substance CD's for that subject. Listen to the lecture on the current topic before you have the class on that topic and before you do the reading on that topic.
Do not spend time reviewing cases or discussing them once you have completed that case in class. It's a waste of time. Time that would be much more productively spent with a good supplement.
If your school offers extra sections taught by other students (usually the one who booked the class), GO TO THEM. Often the professor will have made the handouts. In my Civil Procedure class, the handouts were the professor's definitions for everything and an exact outline of how he would like your answer on the final framed. To miss out on that is utter stupidity. I had two friends who didn't go to that extra class - they both failed.
Always remember that you are studying for the exam. What you need to know for the exam is the black letter law, how to apply it, and how to combine your knowledge and analysis into a great answer. The best way I found to learn the black letter law was to use the Emanuel's flash cards. They're extremely thorough, they do NOT miss any topic at all. Don't make your own, you WILL miss a topic. Also, 3/4 of the flash cards are quizzing you on the black letter law with hypos. Each hypo is one of the common ways people misconstrue the law. Going through these flash cards is, imho, the single best use of your study time.
Once you're about halfway throughout the course, you should be practicing writing essay answers. Use your professor's old tests, other professor's old tests, old tests from other law schools, anything you can find.
I personally use the Examples and Explanations series as I go through the course. After each topic in class, I read the topic in the E&E book and do all the practice questions. With about 6 weeks to go before finals, I start on the flash cards. I typically go through the deck 3-4 times, about once a week while studying for finals. Then I do every practice question I can find. BarBri, PMBR, ExamPro, Emanuels, anything and everything. By the time I take a test I have probably done 500 multiple choice questions and have wrote about 3-4 full legnth test answers. When you do this much practice, there is nothing left that will trick you, and you will know how to write an answer for that subject. 95% of your grade is on ANALYSIS. therefore, you need a TON of practice analyzing. if you only study the black letter law, you're not going to do well at all.
some random thoughts:
-studying with anybody else is a waste of time. you will end up socializing.
-you probably won't read the horn book anyway, spend your money in a good supplement.
-pmbr cd's are good for review. sum and substance cd's are good for learning the subject in the first place. they're also a good cure for insomnia.
-The BarBri outline is better and more thorough than whatever one your friend gave you or the one that was passed around on email.
-speaking of BarBri.. that book is like gold. the outlines are amazing and there are tons of practice questions with answers. join BarBri, buy that book, and use it. if you can't afford it, become a barbri rep and it's free.
-don't get stressed out. sometimes I think its more important to blow off studying for the night (of course make sure you read the case notes for the next day's classes) and go relax/drink/get laid than to actually study.
-like law school. if you don't, you're never going to be able to compete with those of us who honstly love it.
-do your own goddam research. sure, you can get somebody else to give you the best cases for your paper in your legal writing class, but then you're going to get an internship and not know jack *&^% about using westlaw and you will look stupid.
-kiss ass. lots of it. you never know who in your class might have the connections to help you get a job. you never know which professor might either.
-type your exams. if you can't type, learn. now. i can type 100 words a minute. there's simply no way in 4 hours that you can come close to writing anywhere near what I can type.
-don't talk about the final after you take it. you'll just start doubting yourself. go get drunk.
-its not really a good idea to sleep with people in your class.
-don't be afraid to ask the top students for help if you need it. some are assholes and won't help you. some are like me and will spend 3 hours explaining the rule against perpetuities to you if you need it.
-don't let your professor catch you im'ing in class. it pisses them off.
-professors love hearing their own words. when they give their definition in class, write it down, memorize it, and spit it back to them verbatum on their test.
-con law sucks.
-don't ever let any dirt about you get out. don't let ANYBODY know who you dont completely trust. if you're an alcoholic, smoke weed, like to sleep with underage girls, etc., dont let anybody know. some ass will report you to the bar.
-don't lie to a professor. EVER. if you get caught, its honor court time and the bar will royally screw with you when you try to get admitted. if you skip class because you felt like it, and the professor asks why, dont make up an excuse. just tell the truth."