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Messages - JG

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Current Law Students / Re: Law School Attire
« on: August 02, 2007, 04:13:24 PM »
At my law school, most people wore business casual for the first day or two of 1L.  After that, it was like college--I wore jeans and t-shirts, a few people wore sweatpants, some people wore business casual. 

Try not to say a single thing all day.

I'll just assume that this comment is a joke..

If we're talking about in-class comments, I'd (in all seriousness) advise you to try not to say a single thing all YEAR. 

Respond if you're called on, but you have NOTHING to gain and much to lose by speaking voluntarily. It makes you look like a gunner, which makes people hate you.  Plus, some professors will return to you throughout the semester when related topics come up, and they might do it on days you're not prepared to talk.

Socially, you can talk.  :)

Orientation dress: most people dressed casually for orientation, but not ultra-casually.  Think khakis and a decent shirt.  There's probably going to be a lot of meet-and-greet time, even if it's just as you're waiting for various tours and activities to start.

Current Law Students / Re: Confused!!! Can you guys please clarify...
« on: July 31, 2007, 11:11:40 PM »
I posted this a couple of years ago, right after my 1L first semester:

A typical day (Monday-Thursday):

8-9 am:  get to school early, waste time chatting with friends (or, occasionally, finish reading for morning classes)
9-11 class
11-2: a long lunch spent chatting and reading the newspaper.  (occassionally, I'd spend an hour reading for the afternoon class)
2-3 class
3-5 waste time chatting with friends or surfing the internet.
5-6 dinner (yes, I'm 90 years old)
6-10 a combination of reading for class, watching tv, and working out that varied depending on how much I had to do for the next day

We don't have classes after noon on Fridays, so on Friday afternoons/evenings, I did nothing.  Weekends, I did legal writing assignments and read for the next week (I usually got a little bit ahead).  I'd say I spent some of Saturdays and most of Sundays studying.  As you can see, if I had made even the slightest effort to use my time wisely during the week, I probably could have had my weekends mostly free.

The last two and a half weeks of the semester,I studied and outlined for every waking moment.  It worked out great for me.  I was at the very top of my class (at a school not too far outside T14.)

My advice is to ask them whatever you want to know.  If it's something that will give you an unfair advantage, they won't tell you. 

Exam-related questions that have brought concrete answers for me:

-How will the exam be structured?  (They'll almost certainly tell you this anyway as it gets closer.)
-Do you want us to mention or recognize cases by name?   
-Do you want us to draw conclusions about the issues we discuss? (I've had some who didn't)
-How do you want us to deal with splits in authority (assume majority rule vs. discuss majority and minority rule)
-Do you want us to discuss policy issues?  Will there be a separate policy question?
-What do you think is the best way to study for your exam?
-Is there anything you see when grading exams that irritates you?  (One prof responded that he HATED it when people brought up things we hadn't discussed in class that they clearly had gotten from commercial outlines)

I agree with Raven about needing to learn how to read cases so you can competently practice after law school (at least if you're going into litigation).  I'd read the cases.

I never got into hornbooks much, in part because it was more reading than I was willing to do (since I was reading the cases).  That said, Chemerinsky's Constitutional Law hornbook was invaluable.  It's a classic, and you'll probably be able to use it for other Con Law classes too.

Don't do anything seriously law-related this summer.  It will be a waste of time.  Read Law School Confidential or something if you want to.  If you're really curious, you could go to a university bookstore and skim through some law study aids, but don't buy anything.

I don't know if they were at the bottom of the class, but none of the big-time gunners in my class were in the top 10-15%.

My theory: if you spend class looking for an opportunity to say something, thinking about what brilliant comments you're going to make, and listening to yourself talk, you're not really paying attention to what the professor thinks is important.  Your focus should be on the black letter law and the professor, not on yourself or your fellow students' comments.

Most professors will also be pretty upfront about exam coverage if you ask.  When I asked, my torts professor told me she didn't want any policy discussion on the exam.  On the other hand, my property professor told me 1/3 of the exam would be a policy question.  For torts, I largely ignored policy; for property, I made a whole separate policy outline.  It never hurts to ask.

I just graduated and was at or near the top of my class every semester.  For what it's worth, here's what I did & didn't do:

1.  I went, prepared, to every single class.  I used a simplified Law School Confidential book-briefing method.  In class, I took typed notes in the form of a short brief of every case:  Facts, Issue, Rule, Holding, Analysis, Policy considerations.  Once you get the hang of it, you're learning the rules and practicing IRAC at the same time.  Get this info from the professor if he gives it, from the book if he doesn't. At the end of the semester, you should be able to make a comprehensive outline from your notes alone--no casebook or supplements.
2. I removed my wireless card and got rid of my computer solitaire game. Seriously--class is too boring to resist those distractions.  Without them, you'll have no choice but to occupy yourself with #1 above.
3. I formed a study group with two very dedicated people who weren't good friends of mine.  At the very end of every semester (even 2L and 3L), we had a marathon 1- or 2-day session in which we went over everything in the class in excruciating detail. 
4.  I started outlining 3-4 weeks before exams started.  I started with a massive, comprehensive outline incorporating all of the information from my notes.  Then I'd make a second, shorter outline.  Then I'd make a third outline in the form of a flow chart for analyzing exam questions.  If it was a closed book exam, I'd come up with mnemonic devices to memorize the topics in my flow chart.
5. On exams,
     a.  I always followed IRAC.  Also, I made it very easy for my professors to grade, using headings and liberal paragraph breaks.  And don't forget the A.
     b.  I was wishy-washy!  This is super-important.  My friends with low grades were my friends who were too confident.  On a contracts exam, they'd read the facts, decide that A and B didn't form a valid contract, explain why in beautiful IRAC form, and then stop.  Well, they were probably correct about the contract validity issue.  Unfortunately, the professor's rubric had allotted 50 points for analyzing the issues that would arise IF the court found that A and B DID have a contract.  Try not to cut off any large branches of discussion.
     c.  I never once finished an exam early.  Write more--you will get more points.  If you are finished and other people are not, you are missing something. Go back and be more wishy-washy--what if you were wrong about one of your conclusions?  What additional issues would that raise?
6.  I didn't use study aids (except the occasional Examples & Explanations).  I found them a waste of time.  They give you the rules, yes, but you understand the rules better (and remember them more) if you extract them from the cases and classes yourself.
7. I didn't take tons of practice exams.  I half-assed a few.  I'm not saying it would have been a waste of time to do them, but my experience suggests it's not essential.

I totally loved law school.  Good luck, everyone!

Current Law Students / Re: What's the deal with...OUTLINING?!
« on: August 28, 2005, 08:38:16 AM »
I'd advise asking your professors what they want you to do with policy on the exam--it may vary widely.  My torts and property professors last year both talked a lot about policy.  When asked, my torts professor basically said that she wasn't looking for policy rationales when she graded exams.  On the other hand, my property professor told us when asked that one of the three questions on the exam would be entirely about policy. (The question ended up being something like, "Discuss the role of 'first in time' as a principle in the development of property law.")  I largely ignored policy discussions in torts but paid close attention to policy stuff in property, and it worked out for me.

Current Law Students / Re: Did you/will you ever take a weekend off?
« on: August 20, 2005, 07:43:05 AM »
I absolutely took some weekends off, and not always even with a lot of prior planning.  I know one fellow student who claims to have never worked any weekends during his 1L year.  How often you're able to do it will depend on how quickly you can pick up the concepts and how driven you are to be at the top of your class.

Just remember that there is a ton of time during the week when you're not in class.  If you use it wisely, you can have pretty pleasant weekends.

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