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Author Topic: Understanding what you law students actually do  (Read 3026 times)

openeddoors

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Understanding what you law students actually do
« on: April 16, 2006, 05:01:54 PM »
Hello, I am not actually a law student nor do I plan on being one.  I do however have a brother going into his first year, as well and a boyfriend doing the same.  I stumbled upon this website and have been researching what the experience is all about.

I still have a few questions though....

I understand now at lest, how much time goes into studying in law school.  I hear a lot about outlines though as well as breifs.  What is an outline and how does it work?  Also what are briefs?  From what I understand its not like undergraduate classes where you have a text book with lessons.  From what I gathered, you only breif cases and make outlines talking about the cases and the "logic of the law."  Is this correct?  It would be helpful if someone could detail exactally what a law student does.  I just think I'd rest easier knowing exactally what two of my loved ones are doing, and obviously would like to keep up with whats going to become their number one priority in their lives.

sdlaw

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Re: Understanding what you law students actually do
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2006, 05:12:36 PM »
Law school is unique in that in most cases 1 test determines your grade.  An outline is a year or semester long process of taking your professors lectures and your reading assignmnents into something you can apply to new facts.  The books for the most part are outdated cases, shortened by the books editors.  Law schools claim to make students think like lawyers but well I work at a large law firm and am skeptical of this.  Most law students fail in my opinion from trying to memorize case names, when that is a very small part of ones grade.  Also trying to rely on commercial outlines is not advised, they can be helpfull but professors love to hear themselves.   As far as loved ones go, it will be a tough time on the relationship, it is worst the first year and during the bar but it can be done.  (one final note get chemerinskys con law guide)

QUAKER OATS

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Re: Understanding what you law students actually do
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2006, 07:09:36 PM »
sdlaw explained it pretty well.  Basically, law school teaches the philosophy of law.  Essentially you must take the broad, make it narrow and then make it broad again.  What I mean by this is you read cases and from them extract rules of law.  The outline is a tool for conceptualizing/organizing the rules and how they fit together.  After you learn this, (which BTW involves very little memorization b/c most exams are open book) you must apply those rules to new situations.

A case brief (which is what law students prepare for class) is basically a summary of the case, including the relevent facts, courts holding, and the court's reasoning, among other things

An appellate brief (which is written by students during first year writing class) is a written, legal argument prepared for judges

I think it is very admirable that you are taking the time to learn about what your brother and boyfriend are getting into.  Relationships through law school can be tough, but you are definitely increasing the odds by taking an interest in what your boyfriend is doing.

The time commitment is definitely higher than college, but its not really as bad as some people make it out to be.  Most of the time, the time commitment is no worse than a full time job, while other times (during finals and when legal writing assignments are due) it can be very time consuming.

Good luck.

brewha

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Re: Understanding what you law students actually do
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2006, 09:12:47 PM »
Quote
After you learn this, (which BTW involves very little memorization b/c most exams are open book) you must apply those rules to new situations

Quote
The time commitment is definitely higher than college, but its not really as bad as some people make it out to be.  Most of the time, the time commitment is no worse than a full time job

Uh, no and no.  What TTT do you go to where the exams are open book and the time commitment is no worse than a full time job? 
pudding is delightful

lipper

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Re: Understanding what you law students actually do
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2006, 09:56:45 PM »


Uh, no and no.  What TTT do you go to where the exams are open book and the time commitment is no worse than a full time job? 

hey buddy - FYI, almost all T14 school exams are open book.
check the footnotes ya'll

QUAKER OATS

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Re: Understanding what you law students actually do
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2006, 10:20:58 PM »
done and done

Also, if you're studying more than 40 hrs/week [NOT including class time] you're doing something wrong. 




Uh, no and no.  What TTT do you go to where the exams are open book and the time commitment is no worse than a full time job? 

hey buddy - FYI, almost all T14 school exams are open book.

brewha

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Re: Understanding what you law students actually do
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2006, 12:55:48 AM »


Uh, no and no.  What TTT do you go to where the exams are open book and the time commitment is no worse than a full time job? 

hey buddy - FYI, almost all T14 school exams are open book.

Nice work! You've seemed to isolate ONE of the two factors I used to make my observation.


done and done

Also, if you're studying more than 40 hrs/week [NOT including class time] you're doing something wrong. 




Uh, no and no.  What TTT do you go to where the exams are open book and the time commitment is no worse than a full time job? 

hey buddy - FYI, almost all T14 school exams are open book.

If being on the Dean's list and being selected as a teaching assistant is "doing something wrong," I'm glad to be misguided.  Also, you've conveniently avoided my question, which leads me to believe that you've evaded even the ranks of a TTT and go to a TTTT.  Yeah, those schools likely require much less than 40 hours a week.
pudding is delightful

openeddoors

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Re: Understanding what you law students actually do
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2006, 07:56:23 AM »
Thanks for your responses...I do however think that perhaps we should not use this thread for back and forth arguments. (though I find this a lot on LSD)  I too have heard that (not including class time and perhaps the weekends)  its about the time commitment as a full-time job, 40+ with overtime (weekends ect..)

My goal with starting this thread though was to just gain an understanding of what my two loved ones would be doing becuase I find that its very interesting, and yes with such a commitment, its good for me to know exactally what they are going through.

I still don't understand though.  For your first year subjects, are you given law "text books" with lessons and then a list of cases to read?  Or are you merely assigned cases for a "case book" to brief and then reason out on your own and then subsequently discuss in class?  As far as the outline goes, is it just a list of all your breifs plus your class notes?  My brother was trying to explain it, but perhaps he doesn't even know all too much yet.  And practice exams...I remember both of them taking so many for the LSAT.  Is it the same for Law School tests?  If so, where do you get them...I hope no one thinks its odd that I am so interested in learning the details of everyday life.  Its just a new world that I will inevitably be exposed to and I have to say I am very interested.  Thanks so much!

jacy85

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Re: Understanding what you law students actually do
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2006, 07:59:52 AM »
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After you learn this, (which BTW involves very little memorization b/c most exams are open book) you must apply those rules to new situations

I had no closed book exams last semester; this semester, I have 2, and my section is the *only* one with 2.  Open book exams are the norm, I'd say not only at T14s, but at all or most T1.

Quote
The time commitment is definitely higher than college, but its not really as bad as some people make it out to be.  Most of the time, the time commitment is no worse than a full time job

And it's definitely possible to "get by" by doing no more than about 40 hours a week. Some people have insane natural ability, and breeze through law school.  Usually, the difference between the top 20% of students and the bottom 20% will likely have a good deal to do with how much time they put into studying and how they studied.


And to the OP, go pick up Law School Confidential and read through it.  It will probably help a lot.

whoknows573829

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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2006, 05:41:12 PM »
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