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Author Topic: How do you think like a lawyer?  (Read 5459 times)

Thane Messinger

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Re: How do you think like a lawyer?
« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2010, 05:15:15 AM »
All -

Here's the second thread.  So much of the misery that law students face is avoidable.  Now is the time to get in the right frame of mind.  Not necessarily go Type A . . . but prepare so that the first year is more of a review than a frantic (and hopeless) race, and so that it is fun.

Any 2Ls and 3Ls care to comment on how much truth there is here in your first year?

Thane.

chi2009

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Re: How do you think like a lawyer?
« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2010, 12:54:39 PM »
Everything that can be said pretty much already has.  I'll just add what I learned from my own experience.  First, make your answer as clear and organized as possible.  The prof probably does not enjoy reading 100 essay answers, so the easier it is for him/her the better.  Second, don't take anything for granted.  My Contracts I prof told me that a lot of people forget to cover the most basic rules (offer, consideration, acceptance) and just go straight for the main issues in the question.  So don't take anything for granted.  You gain or lost points for every issue you spot or miss.  Also, don't get distracted by irrelevant information.  You're not going to care about all of the info in the question - just focus on the actual issues and apply the relevant rules (the kitchen sink approach is not going to help). 

I'm a huge advocate of practice exams.  I do them for every class, so that by the final I already know how I would approach a question about pretty much any topic that was covered.  One of my profs actually offered to look over practice exam answers and provide feedback.  I took him up on it, and he said I was the first person who ever did.  I got the highest grade in the class on that final, and I think it was because of the preparation I did.  Know the rules and understand how to apply them efficiently.  What else can I say?

Thane Messinger

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Re: How do you think like a lawyer?
« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2010, 09:57:08 PM »
I'm a huge advocate of practice exams.  I do them for every class, so that by the final I already know how I would approach a question about pretty much any topic that was covered.  One of my profs actually offered to look over practice exam answers and provide feedback.  I took him up on it, and he said I was the first person who ever did.  I got the highest grade in the class on that final, and I think it was because of the preparation I did.  Know the rules and understand how to apply them efficiently.  What else can I say?

Chi & All -

Quite right.  One amazing aspect of this is that, despite the mountains of ancillary material and advice, few actually take profs up on what is really the only truly helpful feedback one can get.  One (additional) reason this is so notable is that it requires real preparation: having done everything needed to do a real job on a real practice exam, all in time to get real feedback for the real exam.  I know what you're thinking: "Man, that's a lot of work!"  Yup, sure is.  But, paradoxically, it's less work than thrashing about and then attempting to cram, which, coincidentally, won't work. 

One key to acing exams is not to race, anywhere. Not ahead, not sideways, not brown-nosing (although the above is the best--real--nosing one can do), and certainly not backwards.  Force yourself to stay on track, and not only will it make sense, but you'll be able to do what Chi did, you'll do better, and it will be fun.

Thane.

barrygoodlife

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Re: How do you think like a lawyer?
« Reply #33 on: June 10, 2010, 12:01:59 AM »
try this.

Look at first case in the chapter...what principle did it teach/illustrate?
How did notes /comments afterwards change/refine that rule?
What did next case in chapter do to add/refine your thinking...etc.

The cases are there for a reason, and edited with some logic.
Your prof may skip or substitute other cases...for a reason (new approach/time constraints etc.)

 Try to take a universal view before getting bogged down in the miasma.
And use the casebook's Table of Contents to get you started in laying out the rules/principles/elements