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Author Topic: Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)  (Read 5627 times)

pinkybella

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Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)
« on: July 06, 2006, 07:27:25 PM »
For us soon-to-be-1Ls, it would be nice to hear what type of schedules former 1Ls implemented. When did you study? Where? For how many hours? What study schedule(s) worked for you, what didn't? Did you spend a nearly equal amount of time on each class? Describe a typical weekday. How did you spend your weekends?

If some of you can describe your schedules during 1L, that would be very helpful for us.

Thank you!   :)

onepoint

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Re: Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2006, 07:48:06 PM »
i stuck to a system of high-tailing it to the library immediately after my last class for the day, and doing all of my reading/briefing/outlining until i was finished for the night, at which point i went home and fell asleep.  it sucked during the week, but for the most part my weekends were wide open once i was finished on friday.  i could use my spare weekend time to review anything i felt needed the extra look, though i spent most of it relaxing.

regarding "studying," in the usual sense of the word, i didn't do much of that until about a month before finals.  my library time during the semester was spent doing the assigned readings and briefing the cases involved.  writing assignments were what jumbled my schedule a little, but nothing overbearing.

hope that ramble helps a little.
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pinkybella

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Re: Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2006, 07:53:57 PM »
i stuck to a system of high-tailing it to the library immediately after my last class for the day, and doing all of my reading/briefing/outlining until i was finished for the night, at which point i went home and fell asleep.  it sucked during the week, but for the most part my weekends were wide open once i was finished on friday.  i could use my spare weekend time to review anything i felt needed the extra look, though i spent most of it relaxing.

regarding "studying," in the usual sense of the word, i didn't do much of that until about a month before finals.  my library time during the semester was spent doing the assigned readings and briefing the cases involved.  writing assignments were what jumbled my schedule a little, but nothing overbearing.

hope that ramble helps a little.

That does help a lot! Thanks for your response. :) Did you find it easy to study at your school's law library or were you constantly running into classmates & chatting with them? Would you recommend studying some place where you are less likely to see & run into your classmates?

gibbsale

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Re: Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2006, 09:52:30 PM »
Some thoughts from first semester (14 credits):

 1. Typical day. Wake up between 5 and 6. Complete all note cases for the morning class(as in, typing out answers, having read them all the previous night). Review briefs. Quickly re-read the case. Consume 1 pot of coffee, then purchase another from the student center around 8:15. In class by 8:30. Scan over notes, brief and case again. Be deathly terrified for entire hour; if called on make best effort. Class over; most note cases go undiscussed. Next class in 15 minutes. Quickly scan notes, briefs and cases. Be terrified for yet another hour. Break for lunch; eat lunch while rereading cases, briefs and notes. Arrive at classroom about a half-hour before class begins. Sit in terror, hoping not to be called upon. Class ends, around 2 or 3. Leave classroom, study at library or student center (read or reread cases [having read most during the weekend]). Go home. Run around 6 or 7 in the evening. Return. Read or reread more cases. Brief. Jot down notes on the margins. Sleep. Repeat. Sometimes, look at sample exams.

2. Typical weekend. Friday=legal writing research in the library. Saturday: complete as much reading as is humanly possible. All while consuming massive amounts of coffee. Pretend to outline (it will not really be possible until later in the semester). Brief lots of cases, mostly on sunday, mostly for classes on monday and tuesday. Maybe a couple of glasses of wine on Friday and Saturday nights, after running. During day, make phone calls to family and friends back home. Repeat weekdays at the end of the weekend. Some weekend days, no work, especially in late September/early October. 

3. Approximately two weeks before finals: REALLY begin outlining, having discovered that everything I put together before was worthless. Complete first major legal writing assignment. Consuming massive amounts of coffee, running less. Look at more sample exams.Complete outlining about three days before reading week. During reading week, take well over 10 practice exams under timed conditions, issue-spot more exams. Do multiple choice practice problems.

4. Exams end, go home, get grades. OK. Probably top third, but nothing special.

Some thoughts from second semester (16 credits):

1. Typical day. Awake by 8:30, first class at 9:15. Quick brief if I did not get around to it the night before. Waltz into class, sit, no longer terrified. If Torts, play pinball on my computer because I have no internet reception. Ditto for Contracts. After last class of the day, I go home and play on the internet for a bit. Read cases, quickly extracting the rules, issue and notes on relevant facts. Case briefs are well under a page. Maybe I run, maybe I do not. In bed by around 11 most nights. Drink wine on Thursdays and Fridays, at night. Fridays, read for the entire week of Contracts and brief during lunch breaks. No longer type out answers to notes following cases. Notes on the margins do just fine. Some cases I brief, others (usually property and civil procedure) I do not.

2. Typical weekend. Work maybe 2-4 hours on Saturdays. More work on Sundays, but lots of talking with friends and family back home. Do some hypotheticals, read some supplements (no commercial outlines, having proved worthless). Drink much more. Go out much more.

       Go home for spring break; visit Toronto and Montreal. Do absolutely no work when I said I would outline.

3. Three weeks before finals. Work for security in the student center two nights a week and on weekends. Complete final legal writing project, expecting a C+ or B- in the class based on all grades. Spend about 9 hours on writing, since spending 36 hours on the last major assignment was pointless. Join random study group, spending time on flashcards and hypotheticals. Maybe two practice exams under timed conditions, issue-spot many more. Talk them out. Outlining is mostly cutting and pasting. Put together some charts for contracts.

4. Exams end. Have job as research assistant. Believe I bombed all exams but two.  Receive final grades for the year. Approximately top 10% based on previous year.

 There's just  no formula. But yes, avoid your classmates when studying. Some of them will be intolerable, but for the most part they would rather talk than sit down and read. Study groups may or may not be helpful, I felt that they were,  especially as we sat down and talked through the issues and the rules.

 Have fun. I was kind of miserable during the first semester. The second semester I went out more, talked with more friends and family back home on the weekends and was less intense. It worked better. For some people, that could be disastrous. You will have a better feel for it about midway through the first semester.

slacker

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Re: Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2006, 10:31:45 PM »
1L schedule? I'd rather not think about that. I know it involved classes 5 days/week. I'd rather think about my 3L schedule, which involved 3 or 4 classes 2 days/week, and 1 class on another day, and that's it. I'm trying to work it to have only 2 classes; it'd still be 3 days/week, but I'd be done by 2pm or so each day.

starter

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Re: Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2006, 12:17:09 AM »
First semester (16 hours, 15 graded 1 pass/fail Legal Writing)

First class started at 10:30 every day.  Wake up around 7, shower, eat.  Jump on bus at 8am, at the library by 8:30 to get a good spot.  Look over assigned reading for the morning class or read and highlight the cases if needed.

Class over at 11:30, go to "lunch" which meant spending about 15 minutes talking to classmates or eating my lunch in the library and 90 minutes of reading/highlighting the cases/going over notes for the afternoon classes.  Once afternoon classes were over at 3:30, head staright to library, work until about 6:30 or 7.  Jump on the bus, home by 7:30. Make dinner, work out.  Home by 10.  Hour of TV, go to bed. 

On the weekends - do some work on Friday afternoon, about 3 hours or so.  If memo is due, spend more time on Fridays trying to figure it out.  Take Saturday and most of Sunday off, maybe read for Monday at some point on Sunday.  Go out maybe 2-3 times all semester. 

Worked on outlines periodically throughout the semester, starting after the first month of classes.  Have no clue how to take a law school exam.

Results - bad grades, bottom 1/3.

Second semester, 16 credits.

Class starts at 10.  Sleep in til about 8:30, catch bus around 9:15, get to school by 9:30.  Briefly look over the assigned cases for the morning.  Get out of class, take about an hour for lunch.  Come back to the library about 45 mins. before class.  Look over cases for afternoon classes quickly or surf the internet depending on whether I think I'll be called on.  Go to class, spend entire class time in contracts on the internet, occasionally listen in crim law, get out around 3:15.  Go to library until about 6 reading for class the next day and working on legal research assignments. 

Try to spend Thursday and Friday reading for the week ahead so that I don't have to go to the library after class.  Usually if I got enough done on these days, I pretty much left school after class by 5pm and didn't do anything in the evenings during the next week.

Spring Break - begin to slowly condense the material between going to the NCAA tournament.  Change my outline style from a traditional outline format to something more along the lines of re-copying my notes.  Take hypos and practice exams earlier and take them more seriously.  Learn how to analyze an issue from both sides. 

Last month of semester - spend very little time actually preparing for class.  Go out nearly every Thursday night and get really drunk, no weekend work at all. Spend most of the week working on "outlines" and reading hornbooks/commercial study aids. 

Results - 2nd semseter GPA near top 1/4.  Overall, slightly better than 50th percentile. 

What a roller coaster ride just to be average.

DCrell

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Re: Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2006, 12:54:02 AM »
I hafta be honest, I'm scared for classes haha. After reading some of this stuff I'm a bit nervous that I will work super hard for naught. Oh well, we will see I guess.

Lord Vader

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Re: Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2006, 04:31:58 AM »
1L can be tricky.  Almost everyone does the work.  You must read every case and generally understand it, although it's not as bad as it sounds; 20 pages of reading per class is light after a good humanities undergrad program.

I just finished 1L at a top 20 law school and I'm in the top third.  Here was my schedule, which was the same for both semesters:
8:00 wake up, shower, single cup of coffee
9:37 arrive at 9:35 class two minutes late
9:45 start playing spider solitaire or hearts
10:11 look up panicked, hope that wasn't my name I just heard the professor call
10:45 first class ends, get second cup of coffee, go to second class
10:55 repeat spider solitaire, etc.
12:00 lunch, finally.  Eat near campus with friends, skim notes for afternoon class
1:15  afternoon class.  In addition to solitare, try typing random phrases in foreign language to keep from falling asleep.  Wonder how to say "consideration" in german.
2:30 class ends.  Told myself I would stay in the library and read, but go home instead
3:45 read outside my apartment, enjoy sunshine.  Did not write briefs out, just but bullet marks and stars in the columns next to things that looked important.  Wrote one big word by the case name to remind me what it was about (cases are usually in a book because they're weird, once you figure out what that is, remember the case by that.  Names are almost worthless.  Anyone who knows what a hairy hand is can tell you that).
7:15 gym
8:20 cook dinner
9:00 laundry, dishes, etc.
9:30 read next day's cases for an hour and a half
11:00 TV
12:00 bed

I think written briefs for cases are only helpful for getting called on.  When it comes to making an outline, they let you cut and paste instead of having to think about the rule from the case, so I think they can actually be a hinderance.  If anything, about 6 bullet points worth of info per 5 page case are helpful to me.

Don't start outlining until at earliest 3-3.5 weeks before exams.  You can make the skeleton (w/case names, etc.) but if you do anymore you run the risk of forgetting it by the exam.

Take a few timed practice exams per class, especially in the fall.  That was very helpful. You'd be surprised how many people neglect to do this.

Meet in a study group once before you start outlining and once or twice during outline time to go over exams.  Issue spot and try not to argue, which will be hard b/c everyone's stressed.

Exam time is crunch time, don't be surprised to spend 12+ hours a day studying, but it's really not as bad as it sounds (it's only 2 weeks).

Have a healthy social life.  I went out 3 (or more!) nights per week and partied pretty hard.  You need to reward yourself from time to time.  Staying in is no guarantee of doing well.  Even over drinks you might discuss part of a case you really didn't understand or see in a certain light.

Above all, don't worry if the class doesn't make sense to you during the semester.  You will feel lost at some point in time, I promise.  Read commercial outlines and especially horn books for concepts that escape you.  When you make your outline, you will finally start to understand what your professor was ranting about. 

Get outlines from older students.  This is a must.  Join a group in the fall and most 2 and 3Ls will be happy to share.  I lucked out and scored a CD w/300 outlines for various classes on it so now I don't need to bother friends anymore.

Grading is blind.  Don't waste your time kissing the professor's ass after class.  Also, don't ask questions unless you've looked for the answer yourself first.  95% of the time it's in a hornbook, outline, or friend.  Don't ask a question just to look "inquisitive" in front of the rest of your classmates.  P.S. if he doesn't mention it in class, it's NOT going to be on the exam.

Legal writing sucks.  If it's graded, all but the A+'s and C's will be arbitrary.  It's generally not worth the effort to try to book that class.  It was only 2 credits at my school and the extra 10 hours per paper between a B+ and A are not worth it in my opinion.  Employers will want something totally different from you anyway.  DO, however, pay attention in research class.  This will be very useful in your future endeavors.  Good researchers write better briefs and save firms money.

That's all (although it seems like a lot now) I've got.  1L was not nearly as bad as people make it out to be, but you must be organized and ready to deal with the same people day in and out.  On the other hand, don't be arrogant or over confident.  Many at the top of my class went to small schools I'd never heard of while a lot of Ivy leaguers are around the median.  Be humble, relaxed, and ready to work.

jippyjappa

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Re: Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2006, 07:39:58 AM »
I read and briefed (highlighter method) most of the material for a given week on the Saturday before it. Then I would arrive at class and refresh the cases in my mind. After class, I would type up my notes into an outline. Outlining from the first week of class is vital. Of course in the last few weeks I condense stuff into a shorter more study oriented outline, but keeping a larger outline will help you make sure that you are getting everything and seeing how it fits together as you learn it rather than cramming at the end. You should never leave a subject until you understand it. If you have trouble with a concept read study guides, work through hypos, ask a professor, ask classmates, anything to get it. You can't try to learn or understand much stuff right before finals. After typing up my notes into an outline, I would read whatever I still needed to get through for the next day. By then it would be late afternoon (I had mostly morning classes first year), I would take a nap (usually while watching Scooby Doo) and my night would be relatively free (unless there was an LRW assignment I needed to work on).

 Law school should not be work all day come home and fall asleep, wake up next day type thing. It simply does not need to be that hard.

DeltaTauKyle

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Re: Current law students - Describe your 1L schedule(s)
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2006, 08:24:24 AM »
Wow.

I had class each day from roughly 10-2.  I would get to school at 9 and check email / review some stuff until class.  Go to class.  Then I'd work in the library untik 5 PM.  Usually I could finish everything, but occassionally I'd have an hour or so to do later that night that I'd bring home with me.  Then I had my entire nights free.  Saturday afternoon and sunday afternoons usually involved working on a memo or doing some reading for the upcoming week.

Seriously, these people spend WAY too much time studying.  Studying has diminishing returns, just realize that.
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