Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Summer Prep  (Read 7326 times)

StevePirates

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 436
    • View Profile
    • JollyLawger
    • Email
Re: Summer Prep
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2008, 12:02:25 AM »
I found XOXO and LSD, lawschoolblogger.com, boyinsuit.com, 4lawschool.com, jollylawger.com, etc. etc. etc. and sat in front of my computer watching youtube video's to try and get a sense of what school was going to be like.

Neat!  I hope that at least some of what I said was either helpful, or made you laugh. 

To the original poster.  I am definitely in the "relax and enjoy your last summer" camp.
If you're going to ignore that, then the best books to read are the procedural ones.

How to Write a Legal Memo.  Getting to Maybe.  Law School Survival Guide.

Don't try to pre-teach yourself the substantive law.  You'll likely only confuse yourself.  The only exception to this is I think it's not a bad idea to skim (not read) the Glannon Guide (Civ Pro) once to get an idea of the vocabulary and the general concepts.  NOT to learn the law.

jacy85

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6859
    • View Profile
Re: Summer Prep
« Reply #21 on: June 20, 2008, 07:29:56 AM »
First, just learning the elements of a crime is utterly worthless without learning how to apply it at this stage.  I'd say a complete waste of time.  The elements/rule/BLL are easy to find in cases (and therefore supplements may help, but they're not necessary at all).  Supplements just spell it out so any lazy or time-pressed law student doesn't have to parse through the case. If it wasn't easy, profs would spend more time on it.  The application is key, and you'd be wasting your time trying to memorize worthless easy crap - the returns on the time you invest will be slim to none.

Second, although the way the E&E presents the elements of a crime may seem like the ONE way to do it, it's deceiving.  Take crime law - you say to yourself, "oh, I'll just learn the elements of these crimes, no big deal."  Little do you know that the E&E focuses on the common law definition of crimes, where your crim law class focuses primarily on the Modern Penal Code rules, which is quite different in many basic respects.  Also, just knowing elements is pretty worthless, IMO, if you don't understand the requisite mental states, how those mental states can be negated, whether the person even acted, etc.  In other words, you know 10% of the law if you know "elements" and you lack 90% because you don't know how to apply the law.

Third, re: froot loops' comment, there is enough stuff to prep 8-10 hours a day for the summer - that's the kool aid that Planet Law School tries to sell!   There's more supplements, exam taking advice/programs, and hornbooks out there than you can imagine.

Luziana

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 33
    • View Profile
Re: Summer Prep
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2008, 07:47:31 AM »
Hornbooks, E&E, and similar supplements are a waste of your time at this point, like jacy said.

If you have made up your mind to prep for law school instead of just taking a relaxing summer, then here's my advice:
1) Read a preparing-for-law-school book like Law School Confidential (this was the one I read -- there are others).

2) Get an apartment, buy study supplies and set up a good place to study.  (The aforementioned Law School Confidential has a whole section on this.)  This might seem lame, but it's really useful.  Having a good place to study is key.

3) If you want an idea of how Civ Pro works, read a book like "A Civil Action."  (NOT the movie with John Travolta -- the real book.)  Also, "The Buffalo Creek Disaster."  We actually read these in my Civil Procedure class, because both books give fairly detailed accounts of the minutiae of civil procedure.  For example, much of the Buffalo Creek book is devoted to explaining how the plaintiff's lawyers pierced the defendant's subsidiary's corporate veil and why they needed to in order to land in federal court, and how they selected the forum in which to file their action.  It actually is a fairly interesting explanation of federal civil procedure, and I think it would be more beneficial to you at this point than simply Glannon's explanations on civil procedure.

4) Again, don't really waste your time memorizing random stuff now.  What is most important in law school is how your professor teaches the course.  If you start trying to memorize elements of torts now, what will you do if your torts professor has decided to state the elements of certain torts differently or has decided that "duty" and "foreseeability" are prohibited words in their class?  If I had tried to start learning torts before I started law school, I would have been even more confused by that professor. 

Also, as jacy said, some crim law classes focus on the MPC (mine did, apparently hers did to).  Others still focus only on the common-law crimes and ignore the MPC.  And some have a mix of both.  Similarly, some contracts classes put more of an emphasis on UCC Article 2 than others do.  If you start studying, you may end up emphasizing an area that your professors don't -- which is just a waste of your time and creates a risk of greater confusion.

upgrade

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 858
    • View Profile
Re: Summer Prep
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2008, 09:01:08 AM »
So the student who studies the elements of a tort the day before attending class is also wasting time because the student doesn't know exactly how the professor will word his definition, is that what the two of you are saying?  If we are supposed to come to class prepared, having studied the material, I think we will end up learning what we read and then possibly having to unlearn somethings in class.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I'm not understanding how to reconcile the, "read the assignment and be ready to discuss it during class," that I know is a part of law school with, "don't read anything in advance because you won't understand it or it might not be worded how your professor words it."

pig floyd

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 852
    • View Profile
Re: Summer Prep
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2008, 09:18:21 AM »
The reason you're supposed to read before you get to class is to have some idea what the professor is talking about.  You have the background from the cases to get to whatever rule you're supposed to "get" (or, more commonly, you have the background to "get" that there are multiple interpretations and the arguments for or against each).

Reading an overview of the black letter law gives you a chance to build a framework before you step into class.  You'll have somewhere to put all of those things you're supposed to "get" and you'll be able to see how they fit together.  This is especially important in (my opinion here) contracts, con law, and torts (to a lesser degree).

I would not recommend reading a casebook over the summer.  Do that as readings are assigned.  However, there are some pretty good short overviews out there which I think are helpful.

But the usual rule applies... your mileage may vary.
I hate science because I refuse to assume that a discipline based in large part on the continual scrapping and renewal of ideas is unconditionally correct in a given area.

Imactuallya2Lnow

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 22
    • View Profile
Re: Summer Prep
« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2008, 09:24:42 AM »
So the student who studies the elements of a tort the day before attending class is also wasting time because the student doesn't know exactly how the professor will word his definition, is that what the two of you are saying?  If we are supposed to come to class prepared, having studied the material, I think we will end up learning what we read and then possibly having to unlearn somethings in class.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I'm not understanding how to reconcile the, "read the assignment and be ready to discuss it during class," that I know is a part of law school with, "don't read anything in advance because you won't understand it or it might not be worded how your professor words it."


Okay,so my 2 cents: I am a rising 2L at a top 15-20 school, at the top 10% of my class, so there's that for credibility:

I didn't do any "academic" prep for law school.  Yes, the basic "what are the elements of common law murder" won't change from prof to prof, but then again, those things are so easy, why would you need to prep for them over the summer?  It's the harder analytic stuff that separates the As from the Bs, and that is also the stuff that varies from prof to prof.  Besides, I found myself more than adequately prepared for the first day of school without any background knowledge (and we're talking 0 knowledge, I've never even been a paralegal or anything like that), so prepping strikes me as a bit of a waste of time/money.

Furthermore, I DID read those "prepare yourself for 1L books" and that was a bad idea in retrospect.  Especially "IL Confidential."  Law school is not nearly as terrible, all-consuming, or terrifying as some of these books state it to be.  I remember 1L confidential said something like 'buy all your highlighters now, you'll never have time to go to the office store when you run out."  Ummmm, not true.  Yeah, the month before finals sucks, and you study a lot, but the material is interesting for the most part, and since law school is really the only thing you are doing (unlike having multiple responsibilities in work/undergrad) you actually sometimes feel like you have MORE time than you used to, at least for the first part of the semester.  I am not the only one who felt that way, my law school friends and I have discussed it on several occasions.

So anyway, I know everyone will do what makes them feel the most comfortable going in anyway, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm just saying, definitely don't feel pressured to spend the time and money on summer prep  because it doesn't really make a difference and isn't worth it.

upgrade

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 858
    • View Profile
Re: Summer Prep
« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2008, 09:33:48 AM »
The reason you're supposed to read before you get to class is to have some idea what the professor is talking about.  You have the background from the cases to get to whatever rule you're supposed to "get" (or, more commonly, you have the background to "get" that there are multiple interpretations and the arguments for or against each).

Reading an overview of the black letter law gives you a chance to build a framework before you step into class.  You'll have somewhere to put all of those things you're supposed to "get" and you'll be able to see how they fit together.  This is especially important in (my opinion here) contracts, con law, and torts (to a lesser degree).

I would not recommend reading a casebook over the summer.  Do that as readings are assigned.  However, there are some pretty good short overviews out there which I think are helpful.

But the usual rule applies... your mileage may vary.

Reading casebooks over the summer seems to be universally frowned upon and I understand the reasons for that.  Whether or not to read the black letter law in advance, whether it be a week or a month in advance of the cases, is what I am curious about.  I'm just not understanding why it is wrong to read the black letter law one month before an assigned case, but it is acceptable to read it one week before an assigned case.  I am mixing the opinions from several current students in the above statement, but this is generally what I have gleaned from my conversations on this topic.

Do you consider E&Es to be short overviews?  I read the battery and assault chapters in Glannon's E&E a few days ago, just to get an idea how E&Es are formatted, and thought the material was really easy to understand without delving too deeply into the subject matter.

pig floyd

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 852
    • View Profile
Re: Summer Prep
« Reply #27 on: June 20, 2008, 10:04:22 AM »

Do you consider E&Es to be short overviews?  I read the battery and assault chapters in Glannon's E&E a few days ago, just to get an idea how E&Es are formatted, and thought the material was really easy to understand without delving too deeply into the subject matter.

The E&E's are pretty good for an overview and are also useful for review during the semester.

For contracts, I liked this one.

For Property, I liked this one. (it's very dry, but it's a good overview).

Both are rather short, but effective.
I hate science because I refuse to assume that a discipline based in large part on the continual scrapping and renewal of ideas is unconditionally correct in a given area.

upgrade

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 858
    • View Profile
Re: Summer Prep
« Reply #28 on: June 20, 2008, 12:07:36 PM »
The E&E's are pretty good for an overview and are also useful for review during the semester.

Just to clarify...  Are you saying that it is a good idea to read something like an E&E ONLY immediately prior to reading the assigned cases, or that reading overview material during the summer is also acceptable(won't hurt)?

jacy85

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6859
    • View Profile
Re: Summer Prep
« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2008, 02:52:07 PM »
So the student who studies the elements of a tort the day before attending class is also wasting time because the student doesn't know exactly how the professor will word his definition, is that what the two of you are saying?  If we are supposed to come to class prepared, having studied the material, I think we will end up learning what we read and then possibly having to unlearn somethings in class.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I'm not understanding how to reconcile the, "read the assignment and be ready to discuss it during class," that I know is a part of law school with, "don't read anything in advance because you won't understand it or it might not be worded how your professor words it."


Most professors choose to use casebooks and then pick and choose which cases to assign you to read based on their view of the law and how they teach the class.

For example, in my crim law class, we focused heavily on the MPC, but also dabbled in the common law.  The prof only assigned those cases re: the common law that covered the stuff she wanted to cover, and then assigned more chapters that covered the MPC instead.

So in most cases (unless your professor sucks hardcore), the assigned reading will cover the law and the rule as your professor wants to teach it.

Equating "summer prep with impersonal commercial aids" with "reading the cases and materials assigned by YOUR professor" is very inaccurate and borders on disagreeing for no other reason than to disagree.