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Author Topic: Prospective law school student seeking HELP!  (Read 1705 times)

IvanTrbl

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Prospective law school student seeking HELP!
« on: March 01, 2006, 11:39:15 PM »
Hello everyone,

I have just graduated from Rutgers UG a few months ago and will end up at a T2 of some sort this August.  Since I have quite a bit of time till I start law school, I would like to get ahead of the game by beginning my studies now.  Specifically, as soon as I figure out which school I will attend for sure (hopefully within the next month), I want to purchase the required readings for 1L courses and begin reading/outlining them as soon as possible.  This way, much of my 1L work will be review and, as a result, comprehension and memorization will be much easier.

Although this strategy may seem compulsive and superfluous, it is a direct consequence of a debilitating LSAT experience, which crushed my chances of admission to either of my dream schools (UCLA, USC).  Hence, my only chance at salvation now is nailing a transfer and since it requires a top 10% T2 showing, I need to do whatever it takes to give me an edge.

So, my question to you guys is: How do I find out which books I will need for my 1st semester of 1L?  Is this even possible?  I heard that 1L classes usually consist of the same general courses, so can I just look at the schedule of classes for last August?  Do different teachers use completely different books, or are the court cases and texts fairly consistent?  PLEASE help me by posting any advice you can give.

Thanks,

Nick.
"I spent lots of money on birds, booze, and fast cars.  The rest I squandered." - George Best!

onepoint

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Re: Prospective law school student seeking HELP!
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2006, 11:48:27 PM »
look before you leap.  i know a few prof's at my school sometimes alter reading assignments from year to year, even when sticking with the same book.

i would recommend holding up and taking it in stride when the time comes, though i doubt you'll heed that advice having read your post  ;)
post-3L

giraffe205

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Re: Prospective law school student seeking HELP!
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2006, 11:57:04 PM »
I would suggest waiting a year and re-applying to USC and UCLA. It's very, very difficult to place in the top 10%. I'm sure you are very smart and are confident in your abilities. That's b/c you are smart. However, so are the other 90% of your classmates. Whatever your school's curve is at a T2 will be much tougher than you can anticipate. Before entering law school, everyone thinks that they're going to make top ten easily. By the end of your first year, you're just hoping to be ranked in the top third. Unless, you can be sure that you are going to perform better on your exams than the other 90% of your classmates, I would wait a year.

With that said, if you are still gung-ho on catching a leg up, I would buy the Examples and Explanations series. They make books for Property, Torts, ConLaw (National Power), Contracts, CrimLaw. These will give you a great overview of the different concepts. Plus, there are problems in the book that you can work through so that you will have a grasp as to how the rule applies. Don't purchase your books since the editions change and different profs require different books. Plus, you won't find out what prof you have until late July/early August.

Bronxbmbr5@aol.com

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Re: Prospective law school student seeking HELP!
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2006, 12:36:16 AM »
Nick, in what city are you thinking of going to law school?

Lenny

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Re: Prospective law school student seeking HELP!
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2006, 01:21:02 AM »
I have said this before on other similar threads.  First, I think it is, at best, a waste of time, and at worst a mistake, to try to study ahead for classes next year.  You have absolutely no idea what your professor is going to focus on or from what perspective s/he will approach it.  For example, to fully cover everything that could fall under the heading of "torts" could potentially take 5 or 6 3-credit courses.  So, trying to learn it now before you know what your prof wants you to learn is a huge waste of time.  Moreover, all books, treatises, study aids, etc. come at a topic with a specific method or approach -- law and economics, retributive, distributive, restorative, etc.  Odds are that your prof's approach will differ, and all that matters at exam time is you being able to approach a problem the correct way, i.e. the way your prof thinks is correct.  Learning it one way will solidify that method in your mind and maybe cause interference with grasping your professor's method of interpretation.

Second, if you absolutely must study ahead in order to be able to sleep at night, don't use the Examples and Explanations (E&Es) now.  Wait to use those when you are actually studying for exams.  I absolutely swear by these books, but their untility arises, as the name suggests, from their examples and explanations.  They are best used by going through the problems and trying to answer it on your own, then seeing what the explanation in the book is.  If you try to do this now, the challenge is lost when you want to use the problems come exam time.  Instead, I would suggest either the Understanding series or the Nutshell series.  These series explain stuff in plain English and do not have practice problems.  They will do a more than adequate job of introducing you to the vocabulary, which, at this point, is still more than you really need.

My advice:  Chill the hell out.  Law school is a marathon, not a sprint, even if you're planning to transfer.  First year is still not a sprint.  Trying to go hard now will almost certainly lead to malaise when it really counts.  And, for the sake of reference, I am a 3L who did absolutely nothing until the first day of classes, and I have come out smelling like a rose

tjking82

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Re: Prospective law school student seeking HELP!
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2006, 01:32:01 AM »
I have said this before on other similar threads.  First, I think it is, at best, a waste of time, and at worst a mistake, to try to study ahead for classes next year.  You have absolutely no idea what your professor is going to focus on or from what perspective s/he will approach it.  For example, to fully cover everything that could fall under the heading of "torts" could potentially take 5 or 6 3-credit courses.  So, trying to learn it now before you know what your prof wants you to learn is a huge waste of time.  Moreover, all books, treatises, study aids, etc. come at a topic with a specific method or approach -- law and economics, retributive, distributive, restorative, etc.  Odds are that your prof's approach will differ, and all that matters at exam time is you being able to approach a problem the correct way, i.e. the way your prof thinks is correct.  Learning it one way will solidify that method in your mind and maybe cause interference with grasping your professor's method of interpretation.

Second, if you absolutely must study ahead in order to be able to sleep at night, don't use the Examples and Explanations (E&Es) now.  Wait to use those when you are actually studying for exams.  I absolutely swear by these books, but their untility arises, as the name suggests, from their examples and explanations.  They are best used by going through the problems and trying to answer it on your own, then seeing what the explanation in the book is.  If you try to do this now, the challenge is lost when you want to use the problems come exam time.  Instead, I would suggest either the Understanding series or the Nutshell series.  These series explain stuff in plain English and do not have practice problems.  They will do a more than adequate job of introducing you to the vocabulary, which, at this point, is still more than you really need.

My advice:  Chill the hell out.  Law school is a marathon, not a sprint, even if you're planning to transfer.  First year is still not a sprint.  Trying to go hard now will almost certainly lead to malaise when it really counts.  And, for the sake of reference, I am a 3L who did absolutely nothing until the first day of classes, and I have come out smelling like a rose

I disagree with everything Lenny said, and I've done fine as well.  If you really want to prep, Examples and Explanations will do fine.  It isn't as though you won't be able to find other hypos come exam time.  Not to mention that toying with the examples and explanations will help you get the general concepts down earlier, rather than later.

giraffe205

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Re: Prospective law school student seeking HELP!
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2006, 02:00:56 AM »
Tjking is right. Moreover, it's not like E&E has a terrible law & econ slant. It's your basic black letter law. Chances are the prof will teach the same thing. Sure he may think that one rule is stupid and outdated, but come exam time, it's all about BLL. The prof's reasons for overruling the rule would just go towards constructing the counter argument.

I agree w/ Lenny insofar as that all this prep may or may not have a positive effect on the OP's grades. In the end, the only thing that matters is how one answered the particular fact pattern presented on the final exam. Generally, most of your classmates know the BLL and can spot the issue. What gets you a better grade is your analysis. 

bulletproof

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Re: Prospective law school student seeking HELP!
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2006, 06:15:24 AM »
There is nothing wrong with preparing for law school, you could say the same of not preparing - they both have very distinct benefits.  For the latter it's obvious, enjoy a summer, travel, unwind before the stress of 1L.  But the OP obviously is determined to prepare, so that ends that.

As far as how to prepare I am also a fan of the E&E series.  I think they are written in a very straightforward manner that is designed to take a layman and explain a particular area of law directly and clearly.  The problem I think you might run into is in knowing what to study, and perhaps even in what order.  Picking the first book and going cover to cover before cracking the second might not be the best approach.  I suggest looking at a book called Planet Law School II for a study schedule designed for people trying to do exactly what you are trying to do.  As far as the book itself, the main point seems to be a criticism of the way law school is run.  I agree with some of the points, but overall it seems to have an agenda.  That aside, the schedule portion is pretty helpful.  It has different time lines, depending on how long before classes start, and breaks it down by week, telling you which chapters of which books to read, and in what order.  It relies most heavily on the E&Es.  It will provide some much needed structure for your lesson plan.  If you're lucky you can find it in the library and copy the parts you need, although reading through it isn't a terrible idea given all the time you have.

jacy85

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Re: Prospective law school student seeking HELP!
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2006, 07:35:25 AM »
Oh god, please don't talk about Planet Law School.  YOu can prep without buying into that bull-sh*t propaganda about how law schools want you to fail.

It really seems that prepping isn't what makes the top 10%.  It's the work ethic.  I know people who are at the top of my class, and they're insane.  They sleep 4 hours a night, and they LOVE law school.  They do work all the time, and the majority of their work is effective.  Some of them probably prepped, I think most didn't.

If you're going to prep, do so generally.  Read though the E&Es, learn the vocabulary, get a sense of what the courses are about.  Please, please please do NOT try to do all of your reading over the summer.  That's a great way to screw yourself.  Books don't tell you how to brief, really.  YOu can read all the E&Es you want, but in reality, actually sitting in class, and seeing what the professor pulls out from each case is the only way you can tell what's vital to the holding, what's dicta, etc.  I try to stay ahead in my reading by about 2-3 classes, and spend a few minutes reviewing it before class.

Another thing you can do over the summer (try later in the summer, closer to school) is to get the LEEWS CDs, which will put you ahead of a lot of your classmates right off the bat.

Many people, I think even those that prep, need to learn this lesson the hard way:  It's now how much you study, it's how you study.  Learn this lesson early, and listen to everyone here about NOT doing your assigned reading early.

Lenny

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Re: Prospective law school student seeking HELP!
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2006, 09:02:39 AM »
I never meant to imply the the E&Es were anything other than great supplements.  All I was saying is that I think its a bit of a waste to do the E&Es now rather than when you are actually studying for the exam.  Instead, use something a little more general like a nutshell.

Jacy is right - prepping now is not what will determine whether you make top 10, 25, or even 50%.  The only benefit prepping may have is to increase your confidence coming in the first day of class, and maybe for some people, that's worth it.