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Author Topic: Law School Confidential Method  (Read 5462 times)

PULNONU

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Law School Confidential Method
« on: July 30, 2003, 09:55:57 AM »
HAs anyone tried the LSC study methods?  It recommends hilight briefing and not taking traditional notes in class...  it claims that hilighting things that the prof stresses that you may have missed the first time around during lecture is sufficient.  The book does stress that you will cover the material at least three times after the initial hilighting, and that you will get what's important "down on paper" when you start your outlines, which the author believes you ought to start the first day of class.

What do you think???  

Ryckman_Boy

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Re: Law School Confidential Method
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2003, 11:10:06 AM »
I tried the LSC method and found it to be totally worthless. Book briefing is no replacement for writing your own briefs, in your own words. I also recommend taking copious notes. I took over 700 pages of typed notes my first year and reviewed them thoughougly when writing my outlines. If you don't take good notes, there is a very good chance you will miss a vital point made by the professor.

doyles

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Re: Law School Confidential Method
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2003, 12:14:05 PM »
I actually did both highlighting and the briefing/note-taking. I Like the LSC multi-color highlighting because I can then find things quickly in the casebook, or if for some reason I didn't have time to also brief, then at least I can find things relatively fast if called on.

I generally did not read the cases three times or whatever it recommends, at least not after a week or two. I would read the case, highlighting as I went. Then I would read through it again, focusing on the things I highlighted and typing a brief to use in class. Then in class, I took notes in the same file as the brief.

I also found that taking as many notes as humanly possible worked out best. At the end of the semester, they are incredibly helpful in making an outline and picking up on the things the professor really emphasized.

So anyway, parts of the LSC method can be helpful, but it alone is probably not a great idea. Still, you'll have to see what you are most comfortable with.

Maharishi

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Re: Law School Confidential Method
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2004, 07:51:11 PM »
I'm a French law student, applying for an LLM program.

I've been studying law for 6 years in France (I have a graduate degree in business law, and two masters in media law and intellectual property), without attending to a single class. I've only studied on books, hilighting, and sometimes writing small outlines.

My point is: there's nothing like a book. I can assure you that the (good) authors have written it in a far better way than you. It's even easier to remember.

Anyways, maybe after my LLM I'll be telling you that I did end up taking notes and everything... Who knows?

buggirl92002

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Re: Law School Confidential Method
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2004, 01:33:27 PM »
I think the method depends entirely on the professor. Some professors have "target issues" or a novel interpretation of law that I think is best written in his/her own words. Also, if you must paraphrase to write notes quickly, sometimes you clarify things for yourself. I think the process of writing the professor's words (at the risk of sounding cheesy) forms a link betweeen you and the professor that can be key on an exam. Supplements only seem to work for me when the professor is really awful and I have no idea what to expect on the exam. Only in that case will I resort to an "external" source.

dtonsing

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Re: Law School Confidential Method
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2004, 08:18:36 PM »
To do your "personal best" in law school:

1.  Read and brief every case.  This is the only way that you will THOROUGHLY understand each case.  This is also an exercise -- read: "practice" -- that will help you when you professionally practice law.  Lawyers read and write synopses (briefs) of cases all the time, to prepare for court, to include in letters to clients, to write appellate briefs, to write memoranda to submit to courts.  Get used to it. Get very good at it.  Do it from day one of law school. Remember, it's more than just getting by in class -- it should be about doing your BEST in class, to pass the bar the first time around, and to be the BEST lawyer you can be.  Take this seriously.  It isn't college.  It's the start of your career.

2.  Attend every class.  Take notes that are complete, but lean.  Think of it this way: if you were attending hockey practice each day, what notes would you take?  Not many, because you'd need to be on the ice, doing and paying close attention.  But when you DID write something down, it ought to be concise and to the point.

3.  Transform your notes.  As soon as possible after class (minutes later, if possible) flesh out those notes. 
 
4.  Write course summaries (AKA "outlines).  (Visit my website to learn more about this.)

5.  Prepare flow charts. 

6.  Most of all: once you thoroughly understand the law, and have mastered each topical area ... spend lots of time answering practice hypotheticals in writing.  Why?  Because that is precisely what you will be doing at the end of each semester for your grade.  If you don't practice ... over and over and over ... how can you be excellent at it?  Lawyers prepare (read: rehearse).  You should, too, if you're "practicing" law ... if you want to do your personal best in law school.

Are there shortcuts?  You bet.  Can a bright law student book brief and get pretty good grades?  Many can.  Are they doing their personal best ... and preparing to be the best lawyers they can be?  Probably not.  Think about it.
Dean of Students
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Roger Williams University School of Law
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Recent Publication: "1000 Days to the Bar -- But the Practice of Law Begins Now" (Wm. S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2003)

elo

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Re: Law School Confidential Method
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2004, 06:44:44 PM »
I agree with everything Dean Tonsing said (and, after all, he should know), but I would add a couple of comments based on my own experience:

1. When taking notes in class, exercise care not to become a "court reporter" by typing the words and not constantly thinking about what they mean. (Nothing against court reporters, of course, but your job is different.) Type the exact words when you consider them germaine to the issue at hand, but reword them otherwise. The reason for this is that getting in the habit of intelligently paraphrasing constantly requires you to reason through the issues as you go. I know people that come away from classes with almost perfect transcripts of what the professor said but a fascinating inability to discuss or apply it. Rewording as you go avoids this. (Having said that, I should point out that you easily could take this too far and reword something in a way that loses the nuance of the original. Don't do that.)

2. Yes, go to class. Though most law school classes are very well attended, I'm continually amazed by my colleagues who miss a few classes, struggle on exams, and fail to see the causal link between these two things. Even if you think you understand that day's issue perfectly, get out of bed and go to class. You're paying serious money to be there and you never know when the professor (who is an expert in the very acaademic discipline in which you hope to work) will say something that challenges you or makes something click.

3. If your computer has Solitaire, delete it. Right now.

4. Even though most cases are chosen to highlight particular issues, make sure you understand how each relates to *everything* else you've studied. It's not uncommon to have a professor who takes the entire semester issue-by-issue and then delivers an essay question that somehow seems to combine all of the issues into one (almost) indecipherable clump. (n.1)

5. Don't book brief. Law is a humanities discipline and the humanities lose something when viewed through a veneer of magic marker. Plus, you risk annoying the person sitting next to you (who may be me) by having a festively inked casebook and no insight. A single highlighter is sufficient (n.2) if you're also briefing your cases properly.

6. At some point during the semester, you'll somehow come across several outlines from students who were said to have had your professor during the preceding semester and made A's on the exam. Immediately recycle these so that someone in the future can use them as paper plates. Not one of these outlines is as good as what you can create by yourself if you can just tear yourself away from Will and Grace and get started working. Some of these outlines are so laughably inept that it's embarassing that their authors attended the same law school you currently do. Maybe it's because they book briefed.

elo

n.1 I call this a "query monster."

n.2 Use the free highlighters from Lexis-Nexis and nothing else. These deliver a remarkably bright, clear line that somehow doesn't bleed through the paper. They are also comfortable to hold. So much so, that they almost make one want to take up book briefing. Almost.

Rebecca

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Re: Law School Confidential Method
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2004, 02:26:08 PM »
Dennis,

Many, many thanks for providing me with all this valuable information and resources.

Regards,
Rebecca E.
Brooklyn, NY
3.50 UGPA
July 6/LSAT :P ???



To do your "personal best" in law school:

1.  Read and brief every case.  This is the only way that you will THOROUGHLY understand each case.  This is also an exercise -- read: "practice" -- that will help you when you professionally practice law.  Lawyers read and write synopses (briefs) of cases all the time, to prepare for court, to include in letters to clients, to write appellate briefs, to write memoranda to submit to courts.  Get used to it. Get very good at it.  Do it from day one of law school. Remember, it's more than just getting by in class -- it should be about doing your BEST in class, to pass the bar the first time around, and to be the BEST lawyer you can be.  Take this seriously.  It isn't college.  It's the start of your career.

2.  Attend every class.  Take notes that are complete, but lean.  Think of it this way: if you were attending hockey practice each day, what notes would you take?  Not many, because you'd need to be on the ice, doing and paying close attention.  But when you DID write something down, it ought to be concise and to the point.

3.  Transform your notes.  As soon as possible after class (minutes later, if possible) flesh out those notes. 
 
4.  Write course summaries (AKA "outlines).  (Visit my website to learn more about this.)

5.  Prepare flow charts. 

6.  Most of all: once you thoroughly understand the law, and have mastered each topical area ... spend lots of time answering practice hypotheticals in writing.  Why?  Because that is precisely what you will be doing at the end of each semester for your grade.  If you don't practice ... over and over and over ... how can you be excellent at it?  Lawyers prepare (read: rehearse).  You should, too, if you're "practicing" law ... if you want to do your personal best in law school.

Are there shortcuts?  You bet.  Can a bright law student book brief and get pretty good grades?  Many can.  Are they doing their personal best ... and preparing to be the best lawyers they can be?  Probably not.  Think about it.


FMC

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Re: Law School Confidential Method
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2004, 10:53:27 AM »
To do your "personal best" in law school:

1.  Read and brief every case.  This is the only way that you will THOROUGHLY understand each case.  This is also an exercise -- read: "practice" -- that will help you when you professionally practice law.  Lawyers read and write synopses (briefs) of cases all the time, to prepare for court, to include in letters to clients, to write appellate briefs, to write memoranda to submit to courts.  Get used to it. Get very good at it.  Do it from day one of law school. Remember, it's more than just getting by in class -- it should be about doing your BEST in class, to pass the bar the first time around, and to be the BEST lawyer you can be.  Take this seriously.  It isn't college.  It's the start of your career.

2.  Attend every class.  Take notes that are complete, but lean.  Think of it this way: if you were attending hockey practice each day, what notes would you take?  Not many, because you'd need to be on the ice, doing and paying close attention.  But when you DID write something down, it ought to be concise and to the point.

3.  Transform your notes.  As soon as possible after class (minutes later, if possible) flesh out those notes. 
 
4.  Write course summaries (AKA "outlines).  (Visit my website to learn more about this.)

5.  Prepare flow charts. 

6.  Most of all: once you thoroughly understand the law, and have mastered each topical area ... spend lots of time answering practice hypotheticals in writing.  Why?  Because that is precisely what you will be doing at the end of each semester for your grade.  If you don't practice ... over and over and over ... how can you be excellent at it?  Lawyers prepare (read: rehearse).  You should, too, if you're "practicing" law ... if you want to do your personal best in law school.

Are there shortcuts?  You bet.  Can a bright law student book brief and get pretty good grades?  Many can.  Are they doing their personal best ... and preparing to be the best lawyers they can be?  Probably not.  Think about it.


Dean Tonsing -- Thanks for that information. I just started your book this morning. I am starting LS in August doing a PT Evening program. I appreciate the posts you have made here to help folks sift through the information (and misinformation) that is out there.

nervous1L

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Re: Law School Confidential Method
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2004, 10:02:53 PM »
I read all of the comments above, but I am not really sure any of you have really read and taken the advice of Law School Confidential.  Although I understand the merits of briefing every case, from what I read in LSC, it seemed like "book briefing" was a method to save time and get oneself acquainted with the case to be able to grasp what is being said in class.  That was only one part of the method though.  The major part was then creating one's own outlines that ties in what the professor says in class and what was read the night before (the third reading) of the case.  I would really like to hear how helpful this method was for someone who used all three techniques, rather than just book briefing.  (In fact, I believe LSC is adamant that you should not JUST book brief.)