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Author Topic: Advice for New Law Students  (Read 14191 times)

eee

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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2004, 12:12:04 AM »
when you read for class, do you take notes? i assume that you dont enter it directly into your outline? what notes do you bring to class with you other than your briefs? or are the only notes that you have the ones that you take in class?

lawgirl

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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2004, 09:33:09 AM »
When I read for class, I read it through the first time and take notes in the margins of the book. When I do my briefs on the weekend, I type out the actual briefs. If, in the assignment, there are passages in the readings that are not cases, but just textbook type information, I might take notes on that also if it a concept that I need to know better.

For example, they might have a case in criminal law talking about battery. I would read the case the first time and take notes in the margin. On the weekend, I would type out the brief of the case. After the case, they might have more notes in the text about the meaning of the case where it flushes out more information about a particular element of battery, other cases which have expanded that meanning, etc. So, on my brief or after, I might add those notes. When I study the day of class, I take out those briefs and the extra notes that accompanied the brief.

The reason to do this is when you take a law school exam, it will be rare to see a fact pattern that fits neatly into the facts of a case that you studied during the semester. If you do your briefs and do the notes afterward, often you will be covering information that will help you when you get that "new" fact pattern on a test. The BEST thing that you can do when studying a specific case is to try to think of new ways that case can be applied to a different fact situation. Try to change the facts a little bit and then see how you would apply the rule of the case you read to the new fact situation.

When I do my outline, I start with a skeleton version of the syllabus. For example: Torts is the main outline, intentional torts is the subtopic and battery is a specific tort within the class of intentional torts. Battery has several elements and each case you read will flush out the meaning of each element. You plug in your cases, notes after the cases and class notes into your outline to understand the meaning of battery as a whole and the meaning of one of its elements in particular.
My outline looks like this:
                      Torts
I. Intentional Torts
     A. Introduction
        1. Types of Intentional Torts
             a. Battery
             b. Assault
             c. Ect.
        2. More introductior information on intentional
           torts.

     B. Battery
        1. The Elements of Battery
            a. Intent to cause
            b. A harmful or offensive
            c. Contact
       2. First Element: Intent to cause
            a. First Case: Doe vs. Doe
                1. Facts (jflfsljsljlkdlfjfl;jfd;)
                2. ***This is where I put in a condensed
                   version of the combination of what
                   I found in the case, readings and
                   classroom notes

            b. Second Case: Doe vs. Doe
                1. Etc.

        3. Second Element: A Harmful or Offensive


You get the idea. The briefs are just so that you can survive in class, work out your understanding of each specific issue, etc. You later plug in your briefs, class notes, extra notes into your outline, so that by the time you are studying for the final, all you have to do is look at your outline.

That is generally what I do. If you need more help let me know.


LawGirl 





Floatation Device?

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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2004, 12:06:10 PM »
Wow, Law Girl!  Thanks for your help.  That certainly gives me an idea on what I should do.  Thanks so much!

3Lkat

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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2004, 12:41:44 AM »
all good points listed above.  personally, i would recommend making an outline as you go, utilising both the syllabus and the textbook.  if your prof assigns whole chapters, outline that whole chapter using the subtopics listed in your table of contents.  take book notes and put the very condensed brief notes in there, then when your prof stresses something important about a particular issue or particular case, type it in as a sub-note in a different color than your book notes.  this way, at the end of every chapter you have a full outline for that section, with colored notes for the really important issues.  it really sucks trying to do an outline at the end just before finals.. and it's overwhelming to try to start even in late oct.  plus with your prof's notes in a different color (or font) you know what keywords to stress in your exam.  this is crazy but true - if you write the exam in the same tone of voice and using the exact same words/catchphrases that your prof uses all semester long - this will get you the edge over other students, and get you the A.  

overall the most important tip on doing well on exams is to attend class regularly (def try not to skip) and listen for what the prof says and asks.  you might feel like you need to memorize your casebook and commercial outlines, but you really need to be listening to the secret clues your prof gives away during class, because 10 out of 10 times, that is what is going to be on the exam.  i hated my constitutional law prof and skipped class a lot and tried to educate myself on canned briefs and study guides alone.. and that exam bit me in the ass because 2 of the 8 questions were based on an issue that was an in-class discussion only (and nowhere in any of our readings).  so beware...

and don't let second semester slump hit ya like it did me!

good luck.  it won't be that bad, just seems that way for a couple weeks.  

Zeus

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Excellent advices...
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2004, 01:34:10 PM »
 I appreciated the advices and feel they reflect what I feel myself:

 In addition, these are the advices I received from a friend of mine that graduated last year:

  *Never air your opinions on political agendas or act in a blunt fashion. Kep your cards close to the chest and you will win this hand and all the next ones. Three years might seem a short time, but anything said will be used against you later on.  :P

  *At the same page, make a note of who sticks out with odd opinions or agendas that you later on could use to YOUR advantage, if needed. While this seems like a cynical approach, be sure the same is done by everybody towards everyone. After all, we are future lawyers- god be gracious.

  *Always support a few politically correct causes. You can bet everything that this will be taken notice of and three years is not a long time in politics. Saw a few extra seeds now and harvest an extra wheatfield later on.

  *Learn to EMPHATIZE with your lecturers early on. Especially in courses that are heavily based on subjective impressions this is crucial. If you know what your prof likes or what kinda attitudes he/she likes, your A is halfway there.

  *Don't EVER avoid buying a book that is not reccomended for the course. Also, make sure the professor know you got anything he reccomends, but show it in a subtle way, or your true intentions might be revealed.

  *Work out and stay in shape both for physical, esthetic and mental benefits. Most doctors offices will give you great deals on Botox shots if you let them know what you "do for a living". It is established science that the vast majority of people have a more positive initial reaction towards people with a nicer exterior.

  *Pay heed to your close family members despite a hectic schedule. Your time will not get less precious later on, but leaving your parents, siblings or significant others hanging now, could hurt you later on when YOU need them for support.

  *Know that class-rank is a major issue and don't let anyone else rub you over or intimidate you. To anyone that says they study alot, tell them you study even more and to anyone that always says they are "fast learners" make sure to inform them that you never study, but still get by.

  *Avoid romantic/amorous interludes with your classmates. Not only will this interfere with your professional character building, but nothing is more annoying than all ex-gossip when your mind should be 100% somewhere else. Leave your personal life outside school.

  *Always be polite, courteous and well-mannered in speech, behaviour, appearance and tact.Find a balance between being controversial in class and anonymous.

  *Find the right sets of clothes to fit into the school. Try to mimic the mainstream of the class and do your best to pick clothes that make you blend in like a chameleon in the Amazone delta. I reccommend at least 4 different sets of professional wear. If you have not used an iron before, now is the time to start.


   Good luck to everyone starting up their first year this semester and may the best win :D ;D

Lanya

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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2005, 09:29:47 PM »
Thank you, Zeus!  Your advice is very insightful as well, I think.

NoelleMyBelle

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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2005, 10:07:52 PM »
I disagree with a lot of what Zeus said.  If you want to have the best experience, be true to yourself.  Maybe some of what Zeus said is his true self...but I choose to be a little more forthcoming because I'm not willing to give up my soul just to "win."

rapunzel

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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2005, 10:08:50 PM »
Good lord, I'm glad the atomosphere at my school doesn't feel competitive enough that I'd have to follow all of Zeus's tips.  I'll wear an appropriate business suit to my summer job, but I am not wasting the last few years I get as a student worrying about dressing like the majority of my classmates.  You have got to be kidding.  I see this as the last few years I can dress as I like before the corporate world swallows me up.  Or trying to make up appropriate opinions.  
Please, people, be yourselves in law school.  You can't pretend for the rest of your life.

I agree with LawGirl in that day to day vigilance gets the job done.  Just remember to tailor your system for your own personal learning needs.  Law school largely requires you to teach yourself and to do that you cannot be passive.  I use every oppurtunity to meet with my professors.  I always meet with them to go over mid-terms.  And I do practice exams.  Don't get so caught up in class prep that you forget that exam prep is necessary and different than class prep.  1st year exams are element driven and they require legal arguments from both sides.  For me, the only class that was teaching that skill was my legal writing class.  I would suggest that making that a priority can be the key to good grades.  In my class the prof would accept re-writes based on her editing suggestions.  Many students didn't take her up on the offer because exams were looming.  I always forced myself to do it, no matter hour long it took.  I got a very good grade in writing, but moreover I trully believe it made all the difference on my exams.  Also, I worked for a judge that summer and I was so glad I had honed that skill.  

Don't take notes if it is mindless.  For some people clicking away on that laptap works.  Others do it and it never helps.  Personally, I learn better if I really sit and listen.  I make notation of only essential points, often relating to prof. preferences.  I don't use a laptop.  I do, however, stay keyed in to class and try and actively consider how the particular facts of a case are being used with the applicable law.  I make short outlines from commercial outlines, the casebook (I bookbrief) and notes/outlines my friends might provide.  I tend to need to follow the organizational pattern of an already established outline, which is why I don't write my own from class.  But I do not just passively read through outlines.  I use them as sources of law for the purpose of taking practice exams.  Most people are so panicked trying to write their outlines at the end that they never do this.  This is crazy, in my book.  Practice exams help you make a plan for how you are going to conquer each exam.  They give you a sense of your prof's focus.  They give you a chance to apply the law to facts a few times before that first exam booklet hits the table in front of you.  Make time to do them.  

The other thing that struck me as good advice was paying special attention to the prof and the language they used.  They've been working on their theories for a while.  Exam time is not the time to argue.  A little flattery never hurt, their own words will always resonate with them.

 

1LBored

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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2005, 10:22:06 AM »
1. Dont go to law school, its not too late to withdraw.

2. Start collecting lexis and westlaw points right away. That stuff adds up. 10,000 westlaw points and those are almost all from this semester. If I'd been getting them last semester I could get a set of golf clubs or a nice Calloway driver right now. The bike is tempting but I dont think I'll use it so i'll probably just keep collecting points.

3. You will be at school with these people for 3 years, you'll be working with them for the rest of your life, DO NOT do anything you wouldnt want a judge or opposing counsel or a client to know about you. Do not be a feminine hygiene product bag, do not sleep around with students of the opposite sex.

4. DO NOT TALK ABOUT GRADES. The better you do, the more this applies. Thats great if you got #1 in the class, but you cant tell anyone. Do not wander around the class rank list with a finger up in the air announcing your rank to everyone walking by.

5. Respect your school's honor code. You never know who might report something you might consider minor. A mark on your transcript will be seen by any employer, and being named as a defendant in an honor code proceeding (even if acquitted) must be reported to the Bar when you apply.

Mary

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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2005, 02:08:11 PM »
#1?  Are you joking?  If not, how come you're here then?

Please explain #2.  What is all these points I hear about?

#3?  I highly doubt (but maybe I live a sheltered life) that this stuff happens.

#4?  Are all school's honr codes about the same?


1. Dont go to law school, its not too late to withdraw.

2. Start collecting lexis and westlaw points right away. That stuff adds up. 10,000 westlaw points and those are almost all from this semester. If I'd been getting them last semester I could get a set of golf clubs or a nice Calloway driver right now. The bike is tempting but I dont think I'll use it so i'll probably just keep collecting points.

3. You will be at school with these people for 3 years, you'll be working with them for the rest of your life, DO NOT do anything you wouldnt want a judge or opposing counsel or a client to know about you. Do not be a feminine hygiene product bag, do not sleep around with students of the opposite sex.

4. DO NOT TALK ABOUT GRADES. The better you do, the more this applies. Thats great if you got #1 in the class, but you cant tell anyone. Do not wander around the class rank list with a finger up in the air announcing your rank to everyone walking by.

5. Respect your school's honor code. You never know who might report something you might consider minor. A mark on your transcript will be seen by any employer, and being named as a defendant in an honor code proceeding (even if acquitted) must be reported to the Bar when you apply.