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Author Topic: Man, I am in serious trouble...  (Read 2720 times)

swifty

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Man, I am in serious trouble...
« on: November 20, 2004, 08:25:53 PM »
Obviously I could use you help.  I have compensated (quite well mind you) for a reading disability I have had all my life.  Not gonna whine about that, I have it, period.  I was always able to compensate by using index cards while reading, and then the constant drilling process. This worked fine until I realized I am now catching myself writing out the text book verbatum, meaning it all IS IMPORTANT to me.  This didn't surprise me, what did surprise me is the amount of time it takes to read just one 25 page chapter, no matter what law topic.

I've looked at outling, but my outlines tend to be 10 pages long and I still average about 6 hours just to read the chapter, let alone drill myself with the cards. 

Honestly, although I have been diagnosed with a reading comprehension problem, ADD, all that crap, it could very well be that I am just a slow reader.  Seriously.  I bet some of you have tried many methods to speed up the process.  What did you find helpful?  What wasn't?  For now, I am just trying to address the reading issue, I take very good notes, and they are organized well, but before trying to integrate the whole process, I would like to address the reading time issue.  Anyone?  Please?  Outlining, again, is basically what I do with the index cards, plus I write instead of type, so it's supposed to "stick" better in my mind.  I don't know how to get through finals week as it stands now.   ???
And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply" So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said "You look like a fine outstanding young man, I think you'll do.  So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..

jeffjoe

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Re: Man, I am in serious trouble...
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2004, 08:32:54 PM »
I've seen classmates who highlight almost every line in their textbooks.  (If you highlight everything, nothing is highlighted)   I think this is like what you're doing with your index cards.

But it doesn't sound hopeless.

Reading speed- I am not a slow reader.  I've taken speed reading courses, etc.  But I find myself taking a long time to read my texts and cases.  So you should expect to read this slower than the latest Grisham novel.

Outlines.  10 pages?  Is that a lot?  The way I understand it, the real value of outlining is the process of reducing the outlines in size.  You go through and cut it down to the bare essentials.  It may take two or three times going through the outlines, but eventually you'll have it down to the barebones and in the process you will have gone over the material several times.

I haven't really done much on my outlines.  I plan to start as soon as I get over this cold/flu/upper resp infction or whatever it is.  My first step will be to reduce my case briefs to key points.  one or two lines that tell me what I need to remember from that case.

Deep breaths.  Deep breaths.
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zemog

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Re: Man, I am in serious trouble...
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2004, 10:35:40 PM »
You should really talk to your school's department which can help with your disability.  I understand you want to do it yourself and don't want to make excuses, but if you can't handle it yourself, then you have to set your pride aside, and just get some help.  But if you don't make it because of another reason, like time management, etc, then that's another story. 

Anyways, this is what I do.  As I read each case, I try to brief it myself.  However, I do have a case book supplement which has all the briefs of the cases done for you.  It's usually like 20 bucks.  Anyways, if the case if very difficult or long, I will read the case a couple of times, then read the supplement so I know what is important and what is not.  When you read the case again, what you read in the supplement will help you focus on what is the key facts. Then you won't end up writing or highlighting verbatum but you will focus your brief/writing on what the supplement directed you to. 

After that, I will never look at that case in the book again.  To review before class, I will only read the supplement.  And to study for finals, I will only read the outline, or supplement.  This will save time. 

And it's not going to kill you if you get some help from some supplements.  Some classes are really tough to get through and you just need some help.  Just don't rely on them and not read your book at all.  I mean, still try to get through your book first, and use the supplement as an aid.

As for outlining, for my contracts class, for example, I have 45 pages of outlining and it's barely the 1st semester.  That's with all the cases in there and everything.  It's not an outline I would use for an open note/book exam. 

How I started it was, I have a gilbert's on contracts and use the table of contents as a starting point.  These generic supplements will cover everything and more that your class will cover, so just fill in or take out what you need/don't need but use the gilbert's or whatever as a beginning outline. 


dgatl

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Re: Man, I am in serious trouble...
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2004, 11:15:46 PM »
get the "law in a flash" cards.... they are really helpful in determining the black letter law.  and then make your own flash cards for the policy considerations that your professor may have voiced.  and just memorise the two or three cases from each course that you REALLyY need to know the names of...

swifty

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Re: Man, I am in serious trouble...
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2004, 09:58:20 PM »
I've seen classmates who highlight almost every line in their textbooks.  (If you highlight everything, nothing is highlighted)   I think this is like what you're doing with your index cards.


LOL  Yes, I have seen that and done it myself in high school.  When I noticed highlighting wasn't going to help, I switched to cards thinking there is no way I would write everything down.  It worked until reading law books.  I am basically now writing almost everything down, so it would seem wise to speed up the process with a flashcard program that somebody suggested.  You guys all gave me some great advice.  Thank you!!!

JJ, I see you are using storelaw.  I DL'd the demo version, but it seems to only integrate with westlaw, not lexis.  I have access to lexis at home where I study, but have to go to the library to get access to westlaw, and that's  a real pain for me.

Would you still recommend the program without online research integration?

P.S.  People who highlight everything are a sure tale sign that they are not comprehending what they read.  This has been told to me by counselors.  It's called page-lighting.  All you really did was make the page another color LOL.  And that's true.  Exceptions do exist in that people will say it helps them read better the first time, then with the color, it's easier to read a second time.  Don't know about that.
Again thanks guys, I've got some options now. 
And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply" So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said "You look like a fine outstanding young man, I think you'll do.  So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..

jeffjoe

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Re: Man, I am in serious trouble...
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2004, 10:56:31 AM »
JJ, I see you are using storelaw.  I DL'd the demo version, but it seems to only integrate with westlaw, not lexis.  I have access to lexis at home where I study, but have to go to the library to get access to westlaw, and that's  a real pain for me.

Would you still recommend the program without online research integration?

I think the integration with westlaw is a minor feature at best.  It means I can double click on the case in storelaw and storelaw opens a browser and tells westlaw to show me the case.  Most of the time I forget it is even there.  I usually have westlaw open anyway and just cut and paste the citation into westlaw, like you would do with lexis.  If you like storelaw otherwise, don't let the lack of integration with lexis stop you.
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edythec

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Re: Man, I am in serious trouble...
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2004, 09:53:56 AM »
I have to agree with TAS's advice.  I am a 2L at a 4 year program (night school).  I also work and have kids.  I haven't written a brief yet this year.  I read the cases, highlight in the book.  During class, I take notes of the important points the professor emphasizes on the case.  I have one professor who just the other night said don't let the facts of the case confuse you, look at the evolution of the law in the case.  I think the only exam I have ever cited on is Constitutional Criminal Law and that was because the Professor made a point of saying that citing cases was not required but would bolster out grade.
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dtonsing

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Re: Man, I am in serious trouble...
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2004, 09:46:45 AM »
Dear Swifty,

You mention, “…I have been diagnosed with a reading comprehension problem, ADD, all that crap …” – if you are not receiving accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you are missing out on something you deserve.  One of my responsibilities as Academic Support Program Director at our school is to determine which of those students who request accommodations under the ADA actually qualify – then, working with the student (and often with the psychoeducational evaluator of his/her choice) I determine what accommodations are best suited for the student, and implement them.

Time and again I have seen students avoid seeking accommodations designed to “level the playing field” because of very understandable issues of pride or privacy.  Too often, I see these students perform at levels far below their “personal best.”  Many of these students learned to cope very well with their reading, writing, processing or learning disabilities (including ADHD, dyslexia, and other difficulties) during college, and achieve grade point averages high enough to get them into law school.  But, Swifty, as you have experienced, the nature, depth and extent of the reading, processing and exam-writing requirements in law school far surpass those most of us dealt with in our successful undergraduate endeavors.

Much of the advice offered by your peers (above) is valuable.  However, if you have not yet spoken with your Disability Services Coordinator at your school, you really ought to consider it.

Typical accommodations allowed for students at law schools across the country include, for example …
allowance of a lighter load (perhaps one less class for a semester, so the student can spend more time for the courses taken).
non-distractive test rooms for examinations.
extra time for examinations.

Also, a professional skilled in assisting law students with disabilities can teach you strategic study methods (for studying throughout the semester, and for final exam studying in particular) of which your law student colleagues are often unaware.

Another important point about documenting your disability(-ies), and seeking and obtaining reasonable and essential accommodations, is this: the most difficult exam of your life will be the Bar Examination.  You should avail yourself of your legal right to take the Bar Exam under ADA guaranteed accommodation conditions.  If you make it through law school without accommodations you may need and deserve, your state bar examiners are unlikely to grant accommodations for the Bar Exam itself.  In most states, evidence of a history of successful accommodations throughout law school is either desirable or essential for obtaining accommodations for the Bar Exam.

Swifty, I urge you to talk to your Academic Support Program Director at your law school (or faculty advisor, or Dean of Students if your school has no A.S.P. Director).  Print out this note if you like and show it to her or him, and discuss the matter in some detail. 

I invite you to visit http://www.dennistonsing.com/Disabilities.html for some insight into the ADA, disabilities, and how they affect studying.

Sincerely,
Dennis Tonsing

Dean of Students
Academic Support Program Director
Roger Williams University School of Law
Bristol, RI
Recent Publication: "1000 Days to the Bar -- But the Practice of Law Begins Now" (Wm. S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2003)

swifty

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Re: Man, I am in serious trouble...
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2004, 09:36:38 PM »
I have gone through the entire testing process, and I am able to take advantage of basically everything I need.  My problem is limited to reading comp. and memory.  Period.
I have worked with the Learning Dis Ctr for about a month now, not to get accomodations,I already went through that process as mentioned,  but to fix the problem.  If it can be fixed, why avoid it with accomodations?  And, yes, I am one of those who does not want anything on my record saying I receivd any accomodations.

Those should be left to blind, deaf, mobility challenged, i.e., extremely disadavantaged.  I don't want to fill out an employer application and decide "I wonder if this firm frowns upon people who 'claim' to have learning disabilities."  We all now it shouldn,t happen, yet we also must know it does happen.  Hell, you can have a hard time finding a job if you are fat, you smoke, your ugly, bald, use too much perfume....the list goes on.

As for now I am working with a voice program that narrates the text for me as I read along.  They say 10% of people have auditory comprehension rather than reading (visual)

It seems to be helping, but since none of my books are even listed as supported by store law, I have to ask the DSLC to scan all my books to .PDF so I can read them with a voice narrater.  The cool thing about that is you get to highlight, in many different colors, what you want in your outline, and with a click of a button, there it is. But that would be an accomodation no one else gets. This is something like storelow does, but again, they do not use my books.  I have been looking around at other stuff too.  I will only take accomodations after I fail the bar 3 times.  Seriously. 
Thanks tho everybody, still a lot of options to look at. 
And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply" So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said "You look like a fine outstanding young man, I think you'll do.  So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..

rapunzel

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Re: Man, I am in serious trouble...
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2005, 05:22:21 PM »
My advice is you need to figure out what you absolutely must read and only read that.  Case reading is a skill you need in order to write briefs.  So save your reading for your research and writing class and really learn how to write a persuasive paper.  You read cases to find law you can use by analogy or distinguishment to strengthen your case.  Once you have that skill you need not read cases to find first year law.  You need the black letter law in order to argue element by element on your exams.  I stopped reading Torts and used the Law in a Flash flashcards.  Did not miss a thing- Torts is the easiest subject first year.  Saved a lot of time.  I read all of three cases in my Civ Pro book.  I found the law in my Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 

My husband is ADHD and LD, so I have some experience.  If he were to go to law school I would really sit down and help him make a list of what he HAD to read and no more.  He reads so slowly he could never get through otherwise.  I think you should get quality outlines and an upperclass friend to help you filter out the "noise".