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Author Topic: Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?  (Read 1005 times)

jack24

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Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?
« on: May 29, 2008, 12:36:11 PM »
I'm reading Planet Law School and he has some pretty interesting advice.  Hopefully there are some current students out there that can give me some good opinions.

Here are some things he suggests

1: Even though you have to attend, class is a total waste of time as far as your grade is concerned. (He says there are some exceptions, like getting hints for the final or figuring out how the professor will grade the final.)

2: Don't ever show off, or ask questions in class.  Just try to lay low.

3: Start your study group in the first three weeks of school. 

4: You will burn up the 9-5 m-f hours by doing what's required, if you want to get ahead you need to study late into the night and on almost every weekend.

5: If you work smart in your first semester, you will instantly have an advantage over 80% of the students


What do you guys think?

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Re: Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2008, 12:38:58 PM »
I'm reading Planet Law School and he has some pretty interesting advice.  Hopefully there are some current students out there that can give me some good opinions.

Here are some things he suggests

1: Even though you have to attend, class is a total waste of time as far as your grade is concerned. (He says there are some exceptions, like getting hints for the final or figuring out how the professor will grade the final.)

2: Don't ever show off, or ask questions in class.  Just try to lay low.

3: Start your study group in the first three weeks of school. 

4: You will burn up the 9-5 m-f hours by doing what's required, if you want to get ahead you need to study late into the night and on almost every weekend.

5: If you work smart in your first semester, you will instantly have an advantage over 80% of the students


What do you guys think?


I'm an 0L, so I can't answer your question, but I was wondering if he elaborates on what it means to "work smart." I'm reading Law School Confidential, but I haven't gotten to the part about study techniques yet.

$Bill

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Re: Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2008, 12:41:16 PM »
This goes contrary to all of BotBots advice

jack24

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Re: Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2008, 01:06:33 PM »
I'm an 0L, so I can't answer your question, but I was wondering if he elaborates on what it means to "work smart." I'm reading Law School Confidential, but I haven't gotten to the part about study techniques yet.

I haven't read the whole book, but he talks about a lot of different study techniques.  Most of his advice seems to be related to what you should read, and he's not a big fan of briefing.

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Re: Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2008, 01:07:48 PM »
Based on my almost 4 years of law school thus far and my personal experiences therein, herer is how I would respond to your query.

1: Even though you have to attend, class is a total waste of time as far as your grade is concerned. (He says there are some exceptions, like getting hints for the final or figuring out how the professor will grade the final.)

This is totally true for me. Seriously the less I pay attention in class the higher my grades. I have the attention span of a nat so 10 mins into class Iím zoned out. I do all the reading though, still book brief every case, but donít pay much attention in class, donít take any notes and have done well enough to stay in the top 20-30% my whole law school career. But, I think this is a personal learning style thing, I know classmates who do just the opposite, pay close attention in class and take detailed notes and just skim or not do the readings at all and still do well. Do whatever works best for your learning style then do that.

2: Don't ever show off, or ask questions in class.  Just try to lay low.

I donít agree with this. I think raising your hand is necessary in three situations: when you have a genuine question, in classes that have a participation grade component and random cold calling classes. In both of these last two I try to raise my hand once every two weeks or so and make a comment or question (well thought-out beforehand) I call this the ďpre-emptive strikeĒ approach. Get your name/face in front of the prof when you know the answer so that when he colds calls and you donít, youíre not on the hot seat. Just make sure its: short, to the point and germane to the conversation and your classmates wonít care.

3: Start your study group in the first three weeks of school.  

Bah I found study groups a waste of time for me personally. Iím kind of a loner and donít like studying at school. First semester I had one, but it got so big (8 people) that it ended up being a waste of time. Likewise we all had different study/learning habits, so we spent a lot of time just explaining why we had that in our personal outline/study guide (for example being a book guy I had a lot of stuff about the note cases, while another classmate wrote down every word the prof said and had tiny stuff she said in her outline). After that I just made friends and we would exchange outlines for the others to look at.

4: You will burn up the 9-5 m-f hours by doing what's required, if you want to get ahead you need to study late into the night and on almost every weekend.

Depends on how you work it I think. If you can totally cut out procrastination time (which obviously I canít since Iím posting here) you can get everything done in 9-5. Beginning of the semester I donít work any weekends (maybe in 1L for LRW class) middle of the semester I might work one, towards the end and during finals its 7 days a week for me.

5: If you work smart in your first semester, you will instantly have an advantage over 80% of the students

I agree with this. First semester, I think,  is the ďeasiestĒ semester to do really good because no one knows what the hell they are doing study/exam wise. Problem is neither do you. When I read ďwork smartĒ what that means to me is avoid busy work just because someone you know in your class is doing it. I.e. just because the girl next to you in torts in making flash cards halfway through the semester does not mean you should too. If flash cards work for you, than try it, if not its wasted time.

 Just study the way thatís most effective for your learning style. You can try and gage this by taking practice exams, but mostly you will know what worked and what did not after first semester, then adjust accordingly. Just because everyone at school says you must make your outlines, you must write briefs for every case and they must look like this, does not mean thatís the right way to study for you. Do what you think will work best for you and ignore what everyone else is doing if yor pretty sure it won't work for you (like if you have never done flash cards, don't try it just becuase someone else says you have too, no one knows at 1st semester what you HAVE to do to get this stuff).
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Re: Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2008, 01:14:06 PM »
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Re: Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2008, 01:18:10 PM »
I'm reading Planet Law School and he has some pretty interesting advice.  Hopefully there are some current students out there that can give me some good opinions.

Here are some things he suggests

1: Even though you have to attend, class is a total waste of time as far as your grade is concerned. (He says there are some exceptions, like getting hints for the final or figuring out how the professor will grade the final.)

2: Don't ever show off, or ask questions in class.  Just try to lay low.

3: Start your study group in the first three weeks of school. 

4: You will burn up the 9-5 m-f hours by doing what's required, if you want to get ahead you need to study late into the night and on almost every weekend.

5: If you work smart in your first semester, you will instantly have an advantage over 80% of the students


What do you guys think?


1. It depends.  Some classes are completely necessary and some are a waste of time.  Unfortunately, in many cases you won't know this until you see the exam (another reason why old exams or talking to 2 and 3L's who had the class before is helpful).  In general, the more idiosyncratic or passionate the professor is about a subject, the more necessary it is to go to class.  The more "by the books" the professor is or the less he cares about the subject (ie, he's forced to teach it) the less necessary class attendance is.  

For example, one of my professors was a guru for that class and had written the textbook that most law schools use.  Not surprisingly, he had very strong opinions and a very specific approach to the subject.  The best answers for that exam included direct quotes from his comments in class.

Another professor knew next to nothing about the subject (he was a securities guy), used the syllabus and exam style of another professor and taught with powerpoints!  Not surprisingly, the only discussion in that class was when he directly asked students a question.  Attending that class was a huge waste of time.

Another factor that affects whether or not class attendance is helpful is the discussion.  A good professor will guide the discussion so that you leave the class feeling like you learned something, uulike my crim class where I felt like I only learned what my classmates thought about felony murder when I left class each day.

2. I agree about not showing off, but you should definitely ask and answer questions (in moderation).  If you think you know the answer, raise your hand, as long as it was a general question.  Don't butt in if the professor asked someone else.  It's also ok to ask questions that are specifically related to the material, as long as they'll further the discussion or the class' understanding.  Don't be the feminine hygiene product who concocts wild hypotheticals that are in no way relevant to the case at hand and wastes everyone's time.  That's what office hours are for.  Well thought out, relevant questions/answers are good, the rest is not.  Although grading is blind, many professors reserve the right to bump your grade up or down slightly based on class participation.

3.  Only if you study well in a group and find a good group of people to study with.  Studying in a group doesn't benefit everyone and even if you like study groups you might end up with people who aren't helpful.  If you form a group to early you have a higher risk of choosing the wrong people, since you don't know them very well.  Wait too long and there's a higher risk that the "good" people will already be in a group.

4. YMMV.  I often studied late-ish, but that's cause I wasted so much time in the earlier hours.  If you manage your time effectively, there's absolutely no need to study late into the night on a regular basis and almost every weekend.  Other than finals, I rarely studied on Friday or Saturday night and not very often during those days either.  On the one hand, I could have studied a lot more than I did.  Otoh, I'm happy with my performance this year.

5. I agree with this, but the difficult part is that working smart is not the same thing for everyone.  You have to do the work of figuring out what works for you and no single book can replace that.

Just the opinion of one rising 2L.  Like everyone else's advice (and that includes the advice that you paid $22.99 for), take it with a grain of salt and modify to figure out what works for you.
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Re: Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2008, 10:08:40 PM »
I'm reading Planet Law School and he has some pretty interesting advice.  Hopefully there are some current students out there that can give me some good opinions.

Here are some things he suggests

1: Even though you have to attend, class is a total waste of time as far as your grade is concerned. (He says there are some exceptions, like getting hints for the final or figuring out how the professor will grade the final.)

2: Don't ever show off, or ask questions in class.  Just try to lay low.

3: Start your study group in the first three weeks of school. 

4: You will burn up the 9-5 m-f hours by doing what's required, if you want to get ahead you need to study late into the night and on almost every weekend.

5: If you work smart in your first semester, you will instantly have an advantage over 80% of the students


What do you guys think?


In my experience:

1. True.
2. True.
3. False.
4. False.
5. True, sort of.
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Talk Is Cheap

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Re: Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2008, 02:59:44 AM »
*Takes notes.*

mugatu

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Re: Current Law Students: Fact or Fiction?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2008, 03:03:43 AM »
I'm reading Planet Law School and he has some pretty interesting advice.  Hopefully there are some current students out there that can give me some good opinions.

Here are some things he suggests

1: Even though you have to attend, class is a total waste of time as far as your grade is concerned. (He says there are some exceptions, like getting hints for the final or figuring out how the professor will grade the final.)

2: Don't ever show off, or ask questions in class.  Just try to lay low.

3: Start your study group in the first three weeks of school. 

4: You will burn up the 9-5 m-f hours by doing what's required, if you want to get ahead you need to study late into the night and on almost every weekend.

5: If you work smart in your first semester, you will instantly have an advantage over 80% of the students


What do you guys think?


In my experience:

1. True.
2. True.
3. False.
4. False.
5. True, sort of.


Yes, but I think #2 is a "sort of" answer as well.  Some questions are relevant, such as those designed to actually answer things that you don't understand.  However, questions designed to show your own "deep understanding" of the issues are not.
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