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41
I feel as if I'm drowning... all those briefs, no time to do actually study anything!!! it's been over a month and i feel like nothing's sinking in... might be time to ask for help. what are all these methods you guys mentioned? how helpful are they? where did you find them?
how helpful are the commercial outlines?

First of all, don't worry -- it's only been a month.  Seriously.  If you've just been studying the cases (briefing or book-briefing) and paying attention in class, that's all you need to have done, because it takes a while to get any kind of handle at all on what is happening in law school.  But now is about the time to plunge into the commercial study guides and start outlining your courses.  Commercial study guides are very helpful, but you need to get the ones that are appropriate for your courses.  The best way to find this out is to ask 2Ls and 3Ls who did well in your courses last year.  I found Examples and Explanations great for Civ Pro and Torts.  I hear Chemerinsky's hornbook is good for Con Law (sadly, I didn't read it). 

42
Book-briefing (multi-colored highlighting and notes in margins) is sufficient for class.  I've never used canned briefs, but I don't think I'd want to use them in lieu of book-briefing, since book-briefing helps me concentrate on what the court is saying, and when I do get called on in class, I'm looking at the full text of the opinion, in the court's original words, just with my own highlighting and notes to flag what seemed important when I read it.

My outlines for final exams have little descriptions of important cases in them, but they're generally just enough to jog my memory and point me back to the page # of the actual case.  Sometimes I just cite the name of the case as an illustration.  Sometimes if the discussion was particularly extensive I describe what was talked about.  But none of them fit the formal definition of a "brief."  I start making these outlines in the middle of the semester and finish them up during finals week.

Examples:

D.  When Tenant Breaches Lease
  1.  Accept surrender
  • Landlord can sue for expectation damages: difference between rent and fair market rent, and cost of finding new tenant
  2.  Refuse to accept surrender
    a)  Re-let on the tenant’s account
  • Landlord must notify tenant that surrender wasn’t accepted
  • Tenant obligated to cover any rent that landlord can’t find someone else to rent the apartment for
    b)  Don’t re-let
  • Traditional rule was that landlord could wait and sue tenant for all of the back rent.  A lease was a transfer of a temporary interest in property.  Some states still follow traditional rule.
  • Many states no longer allowing this – duty to mitigate (contract law)
  3.  Sommer v. Kridel, p. 762, NJ, 1977
  • Tenant backed out of a 2 year lease.  Landlord waited 15 months before re-letting the apartment, even though he had people willing and able to rent it.
  • Lease is a contract – duty to mitigate
  • Landlord has burden of proof of “reasonable diligence” in finding a replacement tenant
  4.  Is the duty to mitigate unfair to landlords, who bargained for the right not to have to look for a new tenant?  Or does it promote efficient use of property? P. 768

A.  Agreement to Agree
  • Parties leave some terms open because they don’t have time or adequate information to negotiate them before signing
  • Majority rule: will enforce agreements to agree because the parties intended to be bound (UCC 2-305 on “open price terms”, § 33 commentary)
  • Minority rule (traditional): won’t enforce such agreements because it isn’t the court’s job to make the K for the parties (Walker v. Keith)

E.  Rent Control
  1.  Braschi v. Stahl Associates, p. 770, NY, 1989
  • 2 gay men lived together in a rent-controlled apartment for 11 yrs.  Man with the right to the apartment died.  Apartment complex wanted to evict the other man, Braschi.
  • If Braschi was a spouse or family member of the man who died, then he would have the right to the apartment under rent control.
  • Purpose of the provision against evicting family members is to keep them from losing their homes when someone dies.  Not like intestacy laws.
  • Look at “family” in practical terms, not biological or legal terms.  From that perspective, Braschi and his partner were family.  So the apartment complex can’t evict Braschi.
  • Dissent: this definition of family is going to create litigation and inconsistency.  Up to legislature to let gays marry.  The provision against eviction is more like inheritance law, which doesn’t recognize gay partners.
  • After Braschi, legislature added a provision to the rent-control statute to provide for situations like that

43
It depends on what your professor likes.  Listen carefully to what each individual professor says.

I did well in Contracts, Civ Pro and Torts last year, by gearing my answers towards what the professors said they wanted to see. 

The Contracts professor said he wanted to see complete arguments for both sides.  He wanted to see that we could advocate for either side, based on how the facts of the case fit in to the legal doctrines.  Then he wanted a prediction of how the court might go in reality.
The Civ Pro professor wanted to see arguments for both sides based on the values underlying the different possible rules the judge could adopt.  Then she wanted an opinion on how you personally think the court OUGHT to go.
The Torts professor said he HATED "on the one hand, this, on the other hand, that" and he wanted to see a firm answer.  When I saw his sample answer to a sample exam, I saw that procedural posture was important to him, and so was the contrast between what the judge and the jury got to decide.

I learned to pay attention to what professors wanted after I didn't do so hot in Crim Law.  I had been focusing on learning black-letter law and paying too little attention to the types of statutory analysis she was walking us through in class.

Reading the dissent can add several things to the analysis:
1.  It can highlight the inconsistencies in the majority's reasoning.  My Con Law professor wanted us to be able to see these inconsistencies so that we could thoroughly interpret what the precedent did and didn't say.
2.  As J D states, the dissent can explain a rule which is actually used in a different jurisdiction.  My profs in common law subjects would sometimes use the opinions from a single case to explain different possible rules, which are in effect in different jurisdictions. 
3.  It can provide a historical perspective.  Sometimes, what the dissent says in an earlier case will be picked up in the majority's reasoning in later cases when they overrule or distinguish precedent.
4.  It can expose you to different types of legal argument (textualism, originalism, etc.).  That's helpful if the question requires a particularly sophisticated analysis of one concept or judicial opinion, and isn't just an issue spotter. 

44
1L job search / Re: Stupid Question about summer employment
« on: October 16, 2005, 02:37:15 AM »
Do NOT plan to work the week before you return to school.  You need time to gather everything together before 2L job interviewing season and law journal work begin.

45
NALP guidelines strongly discourage firms from requesting your LSAT scores.  Your undergrad GPA is fair game.

46
2L job search / Re: Do Most 2Ls Work During School?
« on: October 16, 2005, 02:24:53 AM »
Some do, but those I know have jobs through the law school -- working in the library, for Lexis, or for a professor.  Not at firms.

47
Studying for the LSAT / Re: LSAT question for the gurus
« on: January 16, 2007, 01:46:15 AM »
The question asks for what their statements "most strongly support," and they support B more than D.  So even if you can't deduce B from their statements, it's still the right answer because it's more possible than D.

It's not much of a leap from Kim's concern about the environment to her favoring efforts to mitigate harm.  But it's not a perfect logical deduction because Kim might believe that it is impossible for technology to mitigate the threat or that any such technology would only cause some greater harm to something else Kim values.

48
Studying for the LSAT / Re: LSAT question for the gurus
« on: January 16, 2007, 01:34:29 AM »
Yes, B is correct.

Kim and Hampton agree that the world population is likely to grow significantly.
Kim asserts that this growth will lead to loss of land for natural habitats.
Hampton objects to the above assertion because he believes technology will prevent such a loss of natural habitat (in spite of the expected population growth).
Therefore, D is definitely wrong because Hampton does not believe that population growth will continue to erode natural habitats.

Kim and Hampton imply that loss of natural habitats is a bad thing, so preventing such a loss would be beneficial.
Hampton asserts that future technology will allow mankind to prevent such a loss.  Because research produces such technology, research would be beneficial.
Kim doesn't explicitly address whether she thinks it is possible for technology to prevent the loss of natural habitat.  Hampton accuses her of overlooking the question entirely, so she apparently has not addressed it during their conversation.  So we don't really know whether Kim would support such research, but it seems likely, given her concern about the looming threat to natural habitats.

49
Where should I go next fall? / Re: How does a school visti factor in?
« on: January 14, 2007, 06:44:32 PM »
It doesn't figure in at all unless you are (1) a huge jerk, (2) amazingly awesome.  Visit whenever you want otherwise, just don't take up too much of their time trying to suck up.

Ditto.  Most schools give tours at scheduled times, so call ahead to see when those are.

50
Where should I go next fall? / Re: GW vs. W&M
« on: January 14, 2007, 06:36:40 PM »
Which school has more students going into public interest?  Which has more students doing pro bono and public interest during law school?  Are there any specific areas of public interest that you find appealing, and does either school have particular outreach programs in those areas?  The money at W&M is really appealing, but there might be more opportunities to, say, work with the homeless, at GW.

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