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Author Topic: To Prep or Not To Prep  (Read 23673 times)

kenpostudent

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Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2012, 01:24:35 PM »

But the bottom line is that what is going to get you through the trials and tribulations of law school and the bar (which i just did this novemberrrr!!!! 8) 8) 8)) is to remember that you have to pace yourself-and just like in university-do the absolute minimum you have to in order to ascertain the key information. A case in point of this is that the first time i studied for the bar i prepared by using BarBri outlines which were long and toooo fuckinnggg convoluted for me to really grasp. The end result was a lot of time studying-too muchhh in fact, and even more time stressing over how much information i haddd to cover. The 2nd time around on the MBE in cali (this last november) I used tony breeden's attack sheets. They were a lot simpler and more concise covering the key information and creating links between the disparate outlines. T

xo,

ally

Preparation for the Bar Exam and law school exams are different.  However, the one aspect of this post that I agree with is that you need to somehow ascertain the limits of testable information and try to predict the types of issues that come up on the exam.  Review past exams is a good way to do this.  Sometimes you can review you prof's writings to get a clue of what he/she is passionate about.  Ultimately, you want to get as many practice exams as possible and see what issues have come up.  The good news is that there are only so many ways to test each issue.  So, you can determine which type of fact patterns signal which type of issues.  By exam week, you should have an attack outline that is one to two pages which contains the major rules that you will likely use on the exam. 

As for basic class prep, just read your cases.  I always did briefs, but they where very short by my third year, maybe a few sentences, mostly bullet points.  Don't be afraid to interact in class.  The most important thing is that you must condense the universe of information down regularly.  I never took copious notes in class.  My goal was to continually reduce my briefs and notes into an outline on a weekly basis, so by exam week, all I had to do is focus on practice exams and memorizing an attack outline.  Less is more.

Thane Messinger

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Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2012, 12:35:51 AM »
As for basic class prep, just read your cases.  I always did briefs, but they where very short by my third year, maybe a few sentences, mostly bullet points.  Don't be afraid to interact in class.  The most important thing is that you must condense the universe of information down regularly.  I never took copious notes in class.  My goal was to continually reduce my briefs and notes into an outline on a weekly basis, so by exam week, all I had to do is focus on practice exams and memorizing an attack outline.  Less is more.


A few thoughts, in reverse order:

1.  Outlines are crucial, and should follow a constant condensation of secondary sources, cases, and class interactions (in that order).

2.  Outlines *must* be personal.  You cannot prepare for a law exam in first year by using someone else's outline.  (Second and third year, yes, because the task is different then.)

3.  Do not take copious notes in class.  They're a waste of time and a distraction. 

4.  You should already know what the professor will say, before it is said. 

5.  Don't be afraid to interact in class, but don't get anxious (or too anxious) about it.  Classroom performance does not matter.

6.  Briefs are mostly a waste of time, how they're usually done.   


Thane.


kenpostudent

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Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2012, 05:24:07 PM »


6.  Briefs are mostly a waste of time, how they're usually done.   


Thane.

While I agree that case briefs can be a waste of time, I think it is useful to be able to summarize a case into bullet points, or a sentence or two.  Otherwise, how will you remember the case and refer to it on an exam.  Some of my professors did not care whether or not cases were referred to on an exam so long as black letter law was applied.  However, some professors required thoughtful examination of cases and direct fact-to-fact comparisons on exams to get above a B.  So, I don't know of any way to summarize the relevant facts and holdings of cases than to brief them.  Albeit, my case briefs were always very short.

Thane Messinger

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Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2012, 01:56:58 AM »


6.  Briefs are mostly a waste of time, how they're usually done.   


Thane.

While I agree that case briefs can be a waste of time, I think it is useful to be able to summarize a case into bullet points, or a sentence or two.  Otherwise, how will you remember the case and refer to it on an exam.  Some of my professors did not care whether or not cases were referred to on an exam so long as black letter law was applied.  However, some professors required thoughtful examination of cases and direct fact-to-fact comparisons on exams to get above a B.  So, I don't know of any way to summarize the relevant facts and holdings of cases than to brief them.  Albeit, my case briefs were always very short.


Quite right.  This depends, of course, on the subject.  Civ Pro or Constitutional Law will involve cases more extensively than other subjects, and of course some professors want more cases while others want a case name + an analysis that shows you know why that case name should be there.

One key is to think of case "briefs" in the same way that attorneys do.  These are not 1-2 page monstrosities that law students are told to do, but are *very* short statements of the legal rule of the case.  Wentworth Miller, of LEEWS, has written about the "2-4 line case brief," which he graciously allowed me to include in Law School: Getting In.... 

Actually I think it *is* good at the beginning of first year to spend 1-2 hours on a case brief . . . to understand how pointless it is.  From there, move to a statement of the legal rule, asking "why is this case here?"  If you can answer that, you'll understand why it's important and be able to use that to practice your exams (which you should do much, much more extensively than briefing).

Thane.

NavyLaw2016

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Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2012, 02:54:54 AM »
I'm a big advocate of having a good outline of a course before you start. Having all of the BASIC legal rules mapped out gives you the ability to read the cases more for nuance than to glean a rule. This allows you to focus on the contours of the rules, which are most likely to be tested on exams, during your basic reading and class prep.

I would not recommend reading cases or treatises prior to law school, though. Get a good commercial outline like Emmanuels or a the Examples & Explanations. Even the Glannon Guide is great. You basically want a broad overview of a subject with some hypos to show you how the material is applied. Make a basic course outline of major themes or rules from this material. This way, you can modify the outline on a weekly basis to incorporate what you actually study in class. The prime advantage of this is that by exam week, you will have memorized your outline from periodic review and the intense review during dead week. I think that is your best prep strategy. By November of your first semester, you want to be working mostly on practice exams. Dead week should be spent almost exclusively on practice exams. If you can do ten practice exams per final, you'll probably get an A or very close. It's just a matter of seeing all the different ways a particular question can be tested and getting practice at analyzing those fact patterns.

Law school exams are alot like fighting: you can know everything there is to know about boxing, but if you don't actually get into the ring and spar, you'll never be a good fighter. Think of class prep as speed bag, heavy bag, or road work. Those things don't make a fighter, but you can't be a fighter without them. They give you the skills necessary to succeed at sparring. Sparring is where you learn to fight. Class prep helps you get the tools to do well on an exam, but class prep alone won't help you on an exam. You'll need to get lots of practice exams in. So, you're prep before a semester should be geared to allowing you to get the most amount of time during the semester to work on practice exams. Having a good outline beforehand will help. Memorizing that outline as you go will help. If you can spend the majority of time in November, outside of what is absolutely necessary for class prep and/or legal writing assignments, on practice exams, you'll be in the best position to succeed on a final exam.

If I have the Law in a flash cards (also Emmanual products) do I need to get the Outline book as well. I feel like the material will be the same.

Thane Messinger

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Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2012, 08:17:55 PM »
If I have the Law in a flash cards (also Emmanual products) do I need to get the Outline book as well. I feel like the material will be the same.


Yes, the materials will be mostly the same, and you don't need to buy duplicative materials . . . but you do need to *do* your own outlines.  From scratch.  Relying on secondary sources, to be sure.  But do your own.  That, plus lots of practice exams (well before exam season), is where the grade mileage is.

Thane.

eric922

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Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2012, 10:53:09 PM »


6.  Briefs are mostly a waste of time, how they're usually done.   


Thane.

While I agree that case briefs can be a waste of time, I think it is useful to be able to summarize a case into bullet points, or a sentence or two.  Otherwise, how will you remember the case and refer to it on an exam.  Some of my professors did not care whether or not cases were referred to on an exam so long as black letter law was applied.  However, some professors required thoughtful examination of cases and direct fact-to-fact comparisons on exams to get above a B.  So, I don't know of any way to summarize the relevant facts and holdings of cases than to brief them.  Albeit, my case briefs were always very short.


Quite right.  This depends, of course, on the subject.  Civ Pro or Constitutional Law will involve cases more extensively than other subjects, and of course some professors want more cases while others want a case name + an analysis that shows you know why that case name should be there.

One key is to think of case "briefs" in the same way that attorneys do.  These are not 1-2 page monstrosities that law students are told to do, but are *very* short statements of the legal rule of the case.  Wentworth Miller, of LEEWS, has written about the "2-4 line case brief," which he graciously allowed me to include in Law School: Getting In.... 

Actually I think it *is* good at the beginning of first year to spend 1-2 hours on a case brief . . . to understand how pointless it is.  From there, move to a statement of the legal rule, asking "why is this case here?"  If you can answer that, you'll understand why it's important and be able to use that to practice your exams (which you should do much, much more extensively than briefing).

Thane.
On the topic of case briefs, I find them extremely tedious. I'm taking constitutional law and criminal law in the political science undergrad department and I loathe case briefs.  My Con. law professor is the best professor I've ever had at my university, but the way he requires us to make briefs is extremely tedious.  It takes me an hour for a single case.  He says it was the way he did it at Vanderbilt in the 60's, but I really can't see it working for me.  My criminal law professor was just recently in law school and he has a much more streamlined way to make briefs, but I still find it a bit tedious.  Oh, and don't get me started on appellate briefs.  I've done one and it made me want to scream.  I love the law, but I hate briefing cases.

J.Wilder

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Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2013, 02:48:03 AM »
"For those of you thinking about exams, you might be interested in this book: http://lnkd.in/-BWnUa It's called Open Book, and it's a book for 1Ls written by a Harvard prof and NYU prof. They give lots of test-taking tips and tell you what professors want to see on exams.
Open Book: Succeeding on Exams From the First Day of Law School
aspenlaw.com
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business Law School Resources - Open Book: Succeeding on Exams From the First Day of Law... Also, you can go to the book's website ( http://lnkd.in/_HjAf5 ), which has lots of free videos and excerpts of practice exams"



J.Wilder

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Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2013, 04:17:30 PM »
[“Goodness, you have to prepare! You’ll be lost!! Why aren’t you done yet!!! Where’s my Prozac!!!!”

The first camp is not the camp to be in. If you decide not to prepare you will be way, way behind and lost. It might be useful, however, to discuss why this is true, so that the importance of preparation will make sense, and so that you’ll know what and how to prepare, in a way that is manageable and beneficial. You should enjoy your summer before law school (as you should enjoy all summers). But you absolutely should not blow off preparing for what’s to come.][Thane]


Exactly!  Even a genius would prepare for what it is he will be tested on.  To not study is to deny oneself of knowledge.  I am not saying to overexert you self with reading an studying but it is imperative to me to set the highest standards for myself and to exceed those.  I just don't want become a Lawyer, I want to be one of if not the best at it!

Thane Messinger

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Re: To Prep or Not To Prep
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2013, 12:55:05 AM »
[“Goodness, you have to prepare! You’ll be lost!! Why aren’t you done yet!!! Where’s my Prozac!!!!”

The first camp is not the camp to be in. If you decide not to prepare you will be way, way behind and lost. It might be useful, however, to discuss why this is true, so that the importance of preparation will make sense, and so that you’ll know what and how to prepare, in a way that is manageable and beneficial. You should enjoy your summer before law school (as you should enjoy all summers). But you absolutely should not blow off preparing for what’s to come.][Thane]


Exactly!  Even a genius would prepare for what it is he will be tested on.  To not study is to deny oneself of knowledge.  I am not saying to overexert you self with reading an studying but it is imperative to me to set the highest standards for myself and to exceed those.  I just don't want become a Lawyer, I want to be one of if not the best at it!


Wild -

Absolutely right, and exactly the right attitude.  At the risk of being over-the-top annoying (or condescending), and for all, if this is not your attitude, consider whether the law is right for you.

Abraham Lincoln is much in vogue of late, yet just how different he is from our contemporaries is often missing from comparisons.  He had a grand total of one year of education.  (You read that right.  One (1) year.  And available only when there was someone in the county who was a "teacher," meaning someone who knew how to read.)  The rest was self-taught.  Lincoln taught himself how to read; taught himself the law; and worked far harder and for far less than nearly anyone would tolerate today.  One of his first jobs, chopping firewood, was paid in cloth (few had actual money at the time).  This became his first real shirt.  Again, this is about attitude and perseverance far more than brains or money.  Paradoxically, this same skill is still very much in demand in law school: you must go about learning the law *very* differently than you approached college (or anything else).

Of course, what we really need in a president is someone who can slay vampires, yes?

Thane.