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jvan2619

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Re: First Post
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2006, 02:49:23 PM »
Thank you so much for the advice CurrentWMCL.  That is an enormous help.  Any other wisdom for us incoming 1Ls?  I'd love to hear any thoughts you have. 

Thank you again...

CurrentWMCL

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Re: First Post
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2006, 06:35:20 PM »
I'll give a few thoughts ....

(1) Don't waste time briefing the cases thoroughly ... there's just too much reading to do and not enough time to do it all.  Instead, either buy the commercial briefs from the bookstore or use your LexisNexis and/or Westlaw account (which you'll get for free) to get a summary of each case ... just ask the librarians how LexisNexis / Westlaw works.  Briefing the cases doesn't add much to your understanding, doesn't count for your grade, and simply wastes time.  I recommend reading each case only once ... and then just make a quick note of the "rule of law" from each case. 

(2) Do get study guides ... they are invaluable and help to explain the material in layman terms whereas the course texts are an exercise in futility for understanding what's really going on.  I've found the Gilbert's and Emmanuel's guides to be very valuable and easy to understand.  Gilbert's for Property (by Dukeminier) was very helpful to me.

(3) Check out the exam archive on the library website ... you can see what your exams are likely to look like for each class / professor.  Practice these exams starting 1 month prior to finals ... also ask your profs to "grade" your answers to these old exams.  Do practice, practice, practice exam writing.  It is a learned skill.

(4) Do get involved in MJF (MInnesota Justice Foundation) and get invaluable volunteer experience.  This will look impressive on your resume.

(5) Do try to write on to Law Review after your first year.  It is good to have on your resume.

(6) Do network with as many other students as possible.  You never know who you're going to be working for in the future ... maybe one of your classmates.

(7) Do get a parking pass for the Grotto parking lot ... parking on the street is a pain in the arse.

(8) Do spend lots of time memorizing and understanding the rules of law ... but DON'T spend lots of time obsessing about a particular case or cases.

(9) Do look up legal terms you don't understand while you are reading cases.

(10) Do prepare a resume and talk to the folks in career development early.

(11) Do take Professional Responsibility in summer after first year and then take the MPRE exam that August ... there are fewer people taking it in August and you'll have a better chance of passing easily.  I passed the MPRE on the first try with no problems and my grade in the Prof. Resp. class was not even that great.

(12) Do prepare for OCI (on campus interviews) in fall semester of second year.  These interviews are for next summer internships at the large firms ... and high pay during the summer internship ... and probable job offer after that making lots of money ... but all of this is dependent (unfortunately) on you being in the top 30% of the class.  This is why it is important to get good grades (A's and B's) your first year.  I signed up to interview with 20 large firms and only got 2 interviews ... but no offers for summer intership.  Unfortunately, I wasn't in the top 30% of the class and missed out.  There are small firms you can get an internship with ... but you'll have to do a lot of hunting around and interviewing out of the comforts of the law school.

(13) Don't obsess about the money you might get at big firms ... the folks that work at those places regularly put in 70 - 80 hours a week, including weekends.  The money is great and I'd do it for a year or two if I didn't have a family life ... but there are other things important in life as well.  Don't forget to spend time with your loved ones and to be satisfied with the type of work you're doing.   Even if you start off at a small firm you can still make good money in a few years ... or even tranfer to a large firm later.



Well that's about it.

good luck.

OingoBoingo

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Re: First Post
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2006, 11:46:37 AM »
I'll give a few thoughts ....

(1) Don't waste time briefing the cases thoroughly ... there's just too much reading to do and not enough time to do it all.  Instead, either buy the commercial briefs from the bookstore or use your LexisNexis and/or Westlaw account (which you'll get for free) to get a summary of each case ... just ask the librarians how LexisNexis / Westlaw works.  Briefing the cases doesn't add much to your understanding, doesn't count for your grade, and simply wastes time.  I recommend reading each case only once ... and then just make a quick note of the "rule of law" from each case. 


This is similar advice to that given by Law School Confidential. I'm confused but does commercial briefs = commercial outlines?

Robert Miller's highlighting system (Green for facts, Red for holdings and conclusions etc etc)- did you or any of your classmates use it? How did it work?

Sorry for butting in - I am an incoming 1L at St Thomas who just happens to know JVAN2619 :)

Oingo
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fener

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Re: First Post
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2006, 12:40:35 AM »
Did any other full time student who might be on this board get stuck in one of the part time sections?  I was debating between Mitchell and another law school until early June, so I did not send in my section preference right away and that cost me.  They are putting me in a property class in one of the other sections to ensure I am full time. I don't particulalry mind the late afternoon hours early evening hours.  But one of my profs is an adjunct and I worry a bit about finding it harder to meet people if most of my classmates in the section are working as well.  I am sure I can adapt though, it will just be a bit of a paradigm shift.

lalala

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Re: First Post
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2006, 12:22:48 PM »
I'll give a few thoughts ....

(1) Don't waste time briefing the cases thoroughly ... there's just too much reading to do and not enough time to do it all.  Instead, either buy the commercial briefs from the bookstore or use your LexisNexis and/or Westlaw account (which you'll get for free) to get a summary of each case ... just ask the librarians how LexisNexis / Westlaw works.  Briefing the cases doesn't add much to your understanding, doesn't count for your grade, and simply wastes time.  I recommend reading each case only once ... and then just make a quick note of the "rule of law" from each case. 


This is similar advice to that given by Law School Confidential. I'm confused but does commercial briefs = commercial outlines?

Robert Miller's highlighting system (Green for facts, Red for holdings and conclusions etc etc)- did you or any of your classmates use it? How did it work?

Sorry for butting in - I am an incoming 1L at St Thomas who just happens to know JVAN2619 :)

Oingo

No, commercial briefs aren't the same as commercial outlines.  Commercial briefs are prepackaged summaries of key cases -- commercial outlines are summaries of an entire topic/course, with holdings of key cases plugged in.   I didn't use either.

I used the Examples and Explanations guides for a couple of classes.  For one class, I didn't use any commercial material, b/c our professor's emphasis was so different that no commercial guide would have helped.  Don't buy commercial stuff on the first day of the semester -- it's generally not returnable.  Ask your professor what study aids he/she recommends, or ask a 2L or 3L which study guides are most helpful for that professor's course, before buying anything.

First semester, I did brief cases for the first few weeks, just to make sure that I had digested what I read.  My briefs were pretty short, when I did write them; there's no sense   I also used the color-coded highlighting system that LSC recommends for the entire first semester.  I found it helpful, but I know that it doesn't work for everyone.  At the end of the semester, I made a list of all the cases we'd read for the semester and condensed the holding to one sentence (ex.  "modifications to contracts must have consideration independent of the original contract to be enforceable"). 

Another piece of advice: spread out your work.  I know a bunch of law students who would run themselves ragged during the week -- staying up till 3 a.m. every night reading, etc.  By the time the weekend rolled around, they didn't have the energy to do anything and spent pretty much the whole weekend sleeping.  That's insane.  Outline on Saturdays, and get a headstart on the week's reading on Sundays.  Do your reading during the week, too, but be sure to get a reasonable amount of sleep.  I made a promise to myself to get at least 6 hours of sleep every night during 1L, and I kept that promise.  Most nights I was able to get 7.5-8 hours of sleep, and during weeks when we had legal writing papers due, I held to my 6 hour requirement.

And one final piece of advice:  Don't slack off, of course, but for your own sanity, take at least one evening a week off.  For me, it was usually Thursday nights (b/c I didn't have class on Fridays).  I would come home from class late afternoon and not do anything related to school -- I'd go grocery shopping, clean my apt., cook, hang out with friends, whatever.

Oh, and don't drink too much.  Hangovers don't mix well with casebooks.

all of these things worked very well for me this year (top 5% or so).  Your results may vary.


(I don't go to WMCL or St. Thomas -- I just saw this thread and thought i'd respond)

OingoBoingo

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Re: First Post
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2006, 12:43:38 AM »
Thanks for the advice LALALA :)

In the end, I guess I am going to have to pretty much get into the classroom to gauge what will and will not work for me. I'll hold off purchasing the extras until the first few weeks of class have passed. St Thomas has midterms which count for part of our 1st semester grade - I just want to make sure I am somewhat ready for them.

Oingo
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jvan2619

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Re: First Post
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2006, 04:13:59 PM »
Thanks for the advice lalala and currentwmcl.  Great stuff.

I'm in the Summer Enrichment Program right now, and we had a lecture last class about the importance of briefing cases.  The professor discussed how briefing is the only way to learn to pull out what the law is and that writing it out makes a big difference when exam time comes.  Do you all think there is any merit to this or do you think that briefing is completely a waste of time?  For this week we only had 40 pages of reading, but I swear it took me two hours to brief one of the cases that amounted to 4 pages! 

Thanks again-