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Author Topic: Question for 2l and 3L  (Read 3046 times)

lyre

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Re: Question for 2l and 3L
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2009, 02:30:24 PM »
I buy used books for the cost savings.  I find most people have previously highlighted in yellow, so I'll just use a different color highlighter like green or pink so I can remember which markings are mine.

Ninja1

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Re: Question for 2l and 3L
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2009, 10:44:24 PM »
My classes had a few open book exams. That's not to say that the book does you much good. By exam time, you either know the *&^% or you don't.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

Ninja1

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Re: Question for 2l and 3L
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2009, 10:46:52 PM »
The only issue with buying used & marked-up textbooks is trying to figure out whether the previous owner sold the books back after he joined law review or sold them back after he failed out... big difference on who's previous highlighting you want to look at.

 

My con law book has been owned by at least 4 other people, leading to some interesting highlighting interpretation on my part.

The crazy part is when you find totally unhighlighted sections in the 1200+ page tome.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

jsb221

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Re: Question for 2l and 3L
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2009, 11:35:44 AM »
I agree it is a personal preference. I bought new my first year because I didn't want to be distracted by others' notes. Now, I don't mind having some highlighting/notes in books. But beware of those books that had highlighters literally explode in them. As for supplements, used will be fine, plus in some subjects you may be able to save a little more buying older editions (torts, for example, doesn't change much, whereas constititutional law is almost constantly changing in some aspects).

jacy85

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Re: Question for 2l and 3L
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2009, 04:17:29 PM »
I bought new my first semester, and never did so again unless there was no other option (i.e. book just published or new edition).

And you may not have the option as a first semester 1L, but to the extent that you can, get book lists early and buy on half.com or a similar site.  Used in the bookstore is a ripoff.  I found most half.com sellers were pretty accurate in describing condition and when it said minimal highlighting, there was only minimal highlighting.

I book briefed and took pretty detailed notes from the reading in my laptop and buying used never really bothered me.

Oh, and one word of advice if you do buy any book new:  If you're not huge on highlighting in lots of color, stick to yellow and do any book briefing in pencil.  You book remains more valuable if you sell it independently (NEVER sell back to the book store - you get pennies back on the dollar it seems).

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Question for 2l and 3L
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2009, 11:19:02 AM »
Certainly personal preference.

For me, money was a major consideration.  I borrowed all of my casebooks during 1L from upperclassmen FOR FREE, I simply promised to return them at the end of semester. Hey, $0 worked for me.  It didn't bother me in the least if they were highlighted b/c I'm not a highlighter, I'm an underliner + notes-in-the-margin writer.  Highlighting, to me, doesn't say anything.  I might highlight parts of a statute but not a case. Cases, to me, are more complex and require notation. Again, personal preference.

Casebooks are overrated anyway.

Supplements are also personal preference.  I found them to be extremely helpful and one of the main reason why casebooks are overrated.  That and the fact that I could find all of the cases in their entirety on lexis or westlaw for free (as opposed to the stripped down/edited version that the casebook authors felt inclined to share with us).  My general observation was that you could literally cut out hours of reading time by spending a few minutes in a supplement first before reading through the cases.  (I never felt comfortable cutting out the cases completely - some people did and I think they didn't do as well because of the 100% reliance on supplements)

I purchased all of my supplements off of amazon.com from other students for, on average, $10 a pop.

So to recap, I had a relatively inexpensive first year of law school using used books and did just fine on the exams.  At the end of the day, it's all about the exam anyway.  Don't forget that part.

Good luck.
"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
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M_Cool

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Re: Question for 2l and 3L
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2009, 03:52:17 PM »
I buy used if I can.  I have cut out reading cases almost entirely from my studying but still feel like I should buy the case book, mostly for outlining purposes. 

Thane Messinger

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Re: Question for 2l and 3L
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2009, 08:32:47 PM »
Hi everyone,
I couldn't find the exact answer on my question from the previous threads, so I decide to just ask again.
For all of you, current 2L and 3L, from your experience, is it a good ides to get for my first year classes all new casebooks but used (with some highlighting/underlining) hornbook, supplements and all other secondary staff?
The price of the new cases already brought it up to over $600, and with new supplements it will nearly double it...
So guys, did you find it useful in your 1L to be the first one who marks you casebooks but go with used hornbooks, or should I get them all new or all used?
Thanks for any advise!


Aloha, Kathy & All -

At the risk of inviting flames, highlighting is a massive waste of time.  Moreover, it is beside the point of why one reads (or scans) the case, which is to understand a single point of law.  It's thus more of a distraction than anything else. 

There's not much benefit in buying new, unless your multiple trust funds are overflowing.  Thus, a used copy with the fewest distracting (heavily marked or colored) highlights is preferable.  But this too is almost beside the point:  the casebook is a sideline in the three-ring circus that is law school.

As to supplements, I disagree that they're not useful.  Quite the contrary.  The right supplements are far more valuable than the casebook, properly used.  One author (of PLS) goes so far as to recommend that one not buy the casebooks at all.  I won't go that far, but I would recommend keeping one's eye on the ball, or balls:  Two outlines to digest and internalize the points of law in each subject; working hypos; and working exams.  Everything else (highlighting, note-taking, brown-nosing, subterfuge) is bunk.  Don't do it.  Don't waste your time.

Alright.  Fire-retardant pressurized and gear secured!

With aloha,

Thane.

jacy85

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Re: Question for 2l and 3L
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2009, 10:23:56 PM »
Everyone works differently, so no need to flame anyone for their opinion.

I'll follow up Thane's opinion with another of my own - I was the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  I rarely found supplements useful.  I used one regularly for perhaps 3 classes (fed courts, crim law which was written by the casebook author, and trusts and estates).  I did find study materials helpful (like E&Es and books with sample essay questions and answers - although real ones are always best).  I used these primarily as exam prep though, and not as a substitute for reading.

I also think you read cases for more reasons than just "understand[ing] a single point of law."  Cases are especially important as a 1L because you not only learn the single rule of law at issue, but you learn how to parse out facts - what's important and what isn't.  You also learn how to spot policy arguments in cases and begin to understand how courts use those policy arguments.

Anyway, people tend to love or hate the case method.  I love it for what it is - I learned the fundamentals of being a lawyer (or at least a litigator).  Did I learn how to actually practice law?  Not so much, but that's a different opinion for a different post.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Question for 2l and 3L
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2009, 03:55:45 AM »
...you read cases for more reasons than just "understand[ing] a single point of law."  Cases are especially important as a 1L because you not only learn the single rule of law at issue, but you learn how to parse out facts - what's important and what isn't.  You also learn how to spot policy arguments in cases and begin to understand how courts use those policy arguments.


Jacy & All -

I genuinely hope this is not read as a flame, as that is not the intent.  I appreciated your response and care in elaborating your points.  This might, however, be one reason law school is so perennially (and needlessly) hard for so many law students.  While individuals do indeed learn differently, that doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't a better, easier way to learn the law. To a large extent, the answer is staring us in the face.  (I write this somewhat assertively because I too was misled by the crowd and common "wisdom" when I was in law school.  Though I did well, I learned later just how mushy my efforts were.  To a large degree, my exams were less bad than everyone else's.)  The answer is provided by how lawyers actually use cases.

As to the case method generally, there are several possible responses, but the most responsible one is, no, a case is there for one reason and one reason only: to highlight a SINGLE point of law (or exception, or exception-to-an-exception).  It's true that policy rationales, etc., are in the case, and might well be hidden in the open, but that's not often the best way to learn that, and it's certainly not how a lawyer goes about case preparation.  True, a lawyer already knows, or should know, the contours of that area of law, and is to a large extent searching for a specific answer to a specific question, given a specific factual framework.  That, to a large extent, is the answer to "A" grades with less effort.  (More discipline, but less effort.)

You're quite right about the importance of fact-spotting--which goes to the point about the single point at issue--and also the policy rationales behind that point.  But it's absolutely essential not to get trapped in a case by looking for more than that single issue.  In fact, one should pinch oneself in law school when going beyond that single point.  Why?  That's a rabbit hole down which many a law student has been trapped, not to be seen again until exams.

This is not to state that one cannot dance rings around a case (in, say, a classroom discussion . . . although it's better not to dance too noticeably with a professor).  The key is to read the case only AFTER one understands why the case is there.  This is why understanding that single point of law is so vital.  Once that is understood, everything else falls into place.  An attorney can read a case's facts in one minute and practically out-talk anyone.  Not because of an ability to spew nonsense, but because the facts of that case fit within the broader framework of that area of the law.  In law school, the challenge is to build the framework, one rule at a time.  The cases are merely there to highlight those rules, one rule at a time. 

Cases are not the donut.  They're the hole.

I hope this helps,

Thane.