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byebyeny

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questions for 2Ls and 3Ls
« on: October 01, 2009, 05:32:38 PM »
I just have few questions for those of you who successfully passed your first year

1. Is briefing on your own/reading every case from casebooks necessary? I have been using the commercial outline
for a while, and they seem to contain every information I need to understand the cases.

2. I am very behind in almost every class I am taking because I read really slow. However, when I look at the outline
and supplement materials, I still do understand why things are the way they are. What troubles me is that I sometimes
have no idea whats happening while I'm in class because I didn't do my reading. Is attending every class really necessary to learn the law?

3. Also, I looked at some of the old exams and model answers. It seems like as long as I study on my own(but not necessarily always keep up with demanding reading load) and understand the law, I believe I will be able to produce a reasonable good answer on the exams that look similar to the model ones I've seen. I think supplements are very helpful, if not essential to my studying. To be honest, I think casebooks are unnecessarily confusing and worded in a difficult way/ contain extra information that really isn't the law etc.

I would really appreciate any 2L or 3L's opinions on these. Am I just wrong about the way I think? or can I still manage to pass all my courses with what I am doing right now.

big - fat - box

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Re: questions for 2Ls and 3Ls
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2009, 06:59:29 PM »
Everyone is different but for me I found the cases unnecessary for the most part.

First year, I usually just skimmed them if I read them it all. If I did brief, my brief would be 2-4 quick sentences summarizing the facts and rule of the case.

I attended every class my first year because my school had a strict attendance policy.I think attending class can be very helpful if you have profs that actually explain the law and what the cases mean in terms of what rules and concepts you're supposed to be pulling out of them. Basically my approach was to take good notes, then make outlines for my courses based on those notes. I started outlining 2 weeks into school. However, if you have a bad prof, this doesn't really work and you have to teach yourself everything from scratch. I also did a lot of practice exams well in advance of the actual test date. A few weeks into law school, I was working through exam hypos for every class a couple times a week.


Caution:  if you are totally lost in class, then you probably don't understand the concepts you're supposedly learning from the supplements. Either you're not using the supplements right (highly likely) or those supplements you have aren't very good. Additionally, with the current state of the legal job market for the foreseeable future, merely passing your courses won't be enough to land you a job.


byebyeny

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Re: questions for 2Ls and 3Ls
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2009, 10:20:42 PM »
Thanks for the advice. I felt like I was lost for the first 3 weeks before I started reading my supplements. Now that I spent the last 2 weeks trying to read supplements only, now I am very behind in my readings(but a lot of concepts are much more clear now). I just wish someone could have told me to read supplements before the semester started. That way I could get the big picture first and then read through casebooks. For personal reasons, I do not have to graduate at the top of my class to get a job, as most people on this board are trying to do. I just need the degree, that is all I want. (and of course, learn the law)

one4theteam

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Re: questions for 2Ls and 3Ls
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2009, 03:50:14 PM »
OP, you sound a lot like me. 

95% of the time I never get what is going on in lecture.  I think the problem with lecture is that it is designed to have you focus on what other people say and how they think, whether that be the professor or your classmates.  I have difficulty with the lecture model for this reason because A) professors generally do not WANT to be clear and B) I don't particularly care to hear what the gunners feel like spouting about that day.

That being said, my approach was to try to apply the concepts we are learning on my own.  The one drawback to commercial outlines is that they just tell you what the law is.  However, performing on an exam requires knowing more than than just spitting back memorized concepts.  It's that and applying to the fact pattern you receive. 

Do as many hypos as you can possibly bear and you'll be in a much better position come finals time.  If your professor doesn't provide them, there are a wealth of supplements out there that you can use.  E&E is my favorite, Siegels Q&A is another.  Both lines are very generic so you have to keep in mind the points your professor emphasizes.  Work through the problems on your first as thoroughly as you can BEFORE reviewing the sample answers.  That process alone will help you out immensely.

Bet of luck.

byebyeny

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Re: questions for 2Ls and 3Ls
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2009, 11:22:23 PM »
Thank you so much for the advice. That is exactly how I feel whenever I am in class. Are you a 2L? I just feel like I don't learn much from classes(except this one class with my favorite professor who is really good at making everything so clear). Like you said, I really don't care what the other 1Ls have to say because most of the time, they just make up stuff that are not very related to the actual law (and some of them are just idiots who still didn't get over their own ego).

blzrchick2

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Re: questions for 2Ls and 3Ls
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2009, 03:59:58 AM »
I think reading the supplements is fine, but I think going to class is very important, because professors are VERY different in the way they approach the subjects and in the way they test. You aren't taking an exam from the author of the supplement, you're taking it from your professor. Your entire grade is your exam, therefore understanding how your particular professor approaches the law and organization is incredibly important.

I'm a 3L and have done very well, I generally don't use supplements at all but I do rely heavily on old outlines from someone who has taken the class with the professor. I take my notes in outline form while I am in class, so I just listen for the rules and how the professor thinks they fit in, and maybe a few important hypos they throw in.

Just my two cents, good luck with everything!

nealric

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Re: questions for 2Ls and 3Ls
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2009, 10:04:44 AM »
Quote
I just have few questions for those of you who successfully passed your first year

1. Is briefing on your own/reading every case from casebooks necessary? I have been using the commercial outline
for a while, and they seem to contain every information I need to understand the cases.

2. I am very behind in almost every class I am taking because I read really slow. However, when I look at the outline
and supplement materials, I still do understand why things are the way they are. What troubles me is that I sometimes
have no idea whats happening while I'm in class because I didn't do my reading. Is attending every class really necessary to learn the law?

3. Also, I looked at some of the old exams and model answers. It seems like as long as I study on my own(but not necessarily always keep up with demanding reading load) and understand the law, I believe I will be able to produce a reasonable good answer on the exams that look similar to the model ones I've seen. I think supplements are very helpful, if not essential to my studying. To be honest, I think casebooks are unnecessarily confusing and worded in a difficult way/ contain extra information that really isn't the law etc.

I would really appreciate any 2L or 3L's opinions on these. Am I just wrong about the way I think? or can I still manage to pass all my courses with what I am doing right now.
Quote

1. No. I gave up on briefing on about the 2nd day. Commercial outline is fine, but make sure you are getting the prof-specific information too.
2. No, you can learn the law from a book, but attending the class is useful because every prof will approach the class differently.
3. Plenty of people do find without the casebooks, but it my experience it's a recipe for a median grade if all you have is the hornbook level of knowledge. Find if you just want to pass, not if you want to do better than average. 
Georgetown Law Graduate

Chief justice Earl Warren wasn't a stripper!
Now who's being naive?

nocomply

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Re: questions for 2Ls and 3Ls
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2009, 05:10:48 PM »
(1) No (though if your professor cold calls, you should maybe read or skim them so that you're not marked down for participation)

(2) Attending every class is important if your professor lectures (and is good at it) (if your professor is a good lecturer [i.e., spoon feeds the law to you, etc.]), then you need to go, take notes, and study what your professor says (so, in this scenario, if your professor is giving you four elements of an intentional tort, and you read on your own time that your supplement provides only three elements for that tort, then you must go with your professor said).  Attendance is obviously also important to satisfy the ABA attendance requirement.  However, if your professor is terrible (barely lectures, always uses the socratic method, etc.) then you still have to go (for ABA attendance purposes), but you likely won't get much out of it (or, at least I hardly do [compared to if I was home studying the material on my own]); you just have to hang in there like everyone else.

(3) I agree with everything you said here.  Supplements are key - though don't overload on them (i.e., don't have multiple supplements for each subject) - then you'll just be overwhelmed, because each supplement book lays the material out in its own way, and all basically provide the same law.  Also, for exams, IRAC (or some variation of it) is also key.  You could know more law than anyone in your class, but if you can't translate your knowledge and application of the law in a simple, easy-to-read, and logical way on your exam, then you won't do well.

Good luck,

3L

Ninja1

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Re: questions for 2Ls and 3Ls
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2009, 03:21:46 AM »
I just have few questions for those of you who successfully passed your first year

1. Is briefing on your own/reading every case from casebooks necessary? I have been using the commercial outline
for a while, and they seem to contain every information I need to understand the cases.

2. I am very behind in almost every class I am taking because I read really slow. However, when I look at the outline
and supplement materials, I still do understand why things are the way they are. What troubles me is that I sometimes
have no idea whats happening while I'm in class because I didn't do my reading. Is attending every class really necessary to learn the law?

3. Also, I looked at some of the old exams and model answers. It seems like as long as I study on my own(but not necessarily always keep up with demanding reading load) and understand the law, I believe I will be able to produce a reasonable good answer on the exams that look similar to the model ones I've seen. I think supplements are very helpful, if not essential to my studying. To be honest, I think casebooks are unnecessarily confusing and worded in a difficult way/ contain extra information that really isn't the law etc.

I would really appreciate any 2L or 3L's opinions on these. Am I just wrong about the way I think? or can I still manage to pass all my courses with what I am doing right now.

Briefing and reading are far from necessary, especially briefing. As long as you know the law and can apply it, you're usually cool. And yeah, casebooks are a waste.

Class attendance in and of itself isn't that important. The big deal with attendance is that you get a chance to figure out what your professors think about the law. On a lot of finals, I've found that knowing how a professor interprets the law or what they think the law should be can make a world of difference. I can guarantee that I would have had better torts and property grades first semester if I would have just regurgitated my profs' views instead of actually analyzing the problem at hand. So when you come to some sort of conflict of laws type problem on an exam and your professor wants you to pick a side and argue for it, you may well be glad that you went to class.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

jack24

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Re: questions for 2Ls and 3Ls
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 11:40:03 AM »
I just have few questions for those of you who successfully passed your first year

1. Is briefing on your own/reading every case from casebooks necessary? I have been using the commercial outline
for a while, and they seem to contain every information I need to understand the cases.

2. I am very behind in almost every class I am taking because I read really slow. However, when I look at the outline
and supplement materials, I still do understand why things are the way they are. What troubles me is that I sometimes
have no idea whats happening while I'm in class because I didn't do my reading. Is attending every class really necessary to learn the law?

3. Also, I looked at some of the old exams and model answers. It seems like as long as I study on my own(but not necessarily always keep up with demanding reading load) and understand the law, I believe I will be able to produce a reasonable good answer on the exams that look similar to the model ones I've seen. I think supplements are very helpful, if not essential to my studying. To be honest, I think casebooks are unnecessarily confusing and worded in a difficult way/ contain extra information that really isn't the law etc.

I would really appreciate any 2L or 3L's opinions on these. Am I just wrong about the way I think? or can I still manage to pass all my courses with what I am doing right now.


Hi.
1:  I'm a 2L at a good T2 school, and even though I'm not an amazing student I did well enough to get on Law Review.  Commercial outlines are a little bit dangerous because you might waste a lot of time studying concepts that won't be on the test.  Briefing cases can be a good activity because it helps you learn to read through cases and pick out the important parts.  This skill will help you in your legal writing classes and on the law review write on competition.
I also used Westlaw and Lexis to read through headnotes and summaries of cases when I was in a hurry.  I gave up on briefing at some point during the first semester, but I don't know if that was such a good thing.   I like to get an outline from a student that took the class last semester, and then I make sure that the syllabus matches up to the outline pretty well.  Then I go through the supplements by topic in order of the syllabus or outline and skip the stuff that isn't going to be covered in class.   After I beef up the old outline with my notes and supplements, I try to condense it to make sure I'm familiar with it.

2:  Skipping class won't kill you, but it leads to terrible habits.  You could try taking notes from class in your commercial outline.  The outline would give you structure and context, and you could fill in the meat from your professor.

3:  If you took the top 10 percent of students--a group made up primarily of the super intelligent and insanely hard workers--and you asked them to study outside of class and never come to class, I imagine most of them would still do extremely well.  However, some teachers want you to sound like them when you write your exam answer.  Some professors don't really care.
If you really are struggling that much with class, I would suggest that you go to class and just pay attention, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself to immediately understand the material.  It would probably help you to read through the day's topic in the supplements before you go to class.


Lastly, some of my best grades came as a result of me typing crazy fast for the entire time of the exam.  Some Professors just get a pen out and give you a point for every good (and applicable) thing you write down.  You have to be careful because some teachers actually want quality over quantity, but it's extremely hard for a professor to really spend the time grading the overall quality if your response, so many of them just result to giving the best grades to whomever lays down the highest quantity of good rules, analysis and application.