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Author Topic: A typical law school class session?  (Read 2424 times)

M112

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A typical law school class session?
« on: July 10, 2010, 09:05:16 PM »
Would anyone mind telling me what a typical law school class session is comprised of?  Is it just an assigned case before class, reading up on that prior to class and using course supplements and case summaries to understand the verdict of the case and the laws, precedents, and principals that led to that decision?  If that is the case, is the lecture than centered around discussion regarding said case and questions to the class to test their understanding?

I am about to start my first semester of my 1L in about one month and just want to have an idea of what the class might look like.  Thanks in advance for any help.

barond

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Re: A typical law school class session?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2010, 09:44:41 PM »
Every casebook/ professor has a different style, but you have the gist of it. Read cases and talk about them. Very little black letter law is talked about.

Hamilton

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Re: A typical law school class session?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2010, 10:14:04 AM »
Reading is assigned and must be done BEFORE class.  Will discuss several cases on a particular area of law - most profs require student participation.  Typically students discuss the cases (issue, facts, procedure, law, analysis, conclusions) and respond to questions from profs, who will drill down and down with questions to make points.  Students often prepare their own case briefs - I recommend using good professional briefs supplamented with the actual reading.  This saves a lot of time.

Some profs are decent and casual in the questioning, some are beligerent a-holes who hammer away and leave you feeling stupid.  Those are a small minority, but they are out there.

Morten Lund

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Re: A typical law school class session?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2010, 01:14:57 PM »
Is it just an assigned case before class

You aren't too far off, except for this part.  Instead of "an" assigned case, insert "many - way too many to possibly read thoroughly."

Julie Fern

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Re: A typical law school class session?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2010, 03:41:59 PM »
class always start with stripper.

Thane Messinger

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Re: A typical law school class session?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2010, 05:50:01 AM »
class always start with stripper.


M112, stick with Julie. 

She apparently goes to the classes worth going to.

Thane Messinger

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Re: A typical law school class session?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2010, 05:54:42 AM »
Every casebook/ professor has a different style, but you have the gist of it. Read cases and talk about them. Very little black letter law is talked about.


Very true, and very dangerous.  Cases are the method, but black letter law is the objective.  If it doesn't tie directly into your ability to address an issue on that final exam, that's not an hour well spent.  You should know EXACTLY what rule (i.e., which part of black letter law) is under discussion in that day's class.  With that understanding, the cases will make much more sense, and so will the discussion. 

Another point:  you're in class not to hear the Socratic Method, but rather to hear the Socratic Method from your professor's perspective.  With the above understanding, what the professor says should make sense.  (With the above understanding of the point of law under discussion, it will.)

Does this help?

Thane.

Hamilton

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Re: A typical law school class session?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2010, 09:12:16 AM »
Everyone's experience is different, but I respectfully disagree with the comment that 'very little black letter law is discussed.'  Perhaps compared to what is actually out there on the books, yes, but think about Crim Law and Crim Procedure - there is a lot of black letter law thrown at you.

Thane Messinger

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Re: A typical law school class session?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2010, 02:57:45 PM »
Everyone's experience is different, but I respectfully disagree with the comment that 'very little black letter law is discussed.'  Perhaps compared to what is actually out there on the books, yes, but think about Crim Law and Crim Procedure - there is a lot of black letter law thrown at you.

This is true.  The problem is that if the rule under discussion is not known beforehand, it will be hard to fit that piece into "black letter law." 

It's not uncommon, for example, to spend 20, 30 or 60 minutes on a case, and if you don't know that the rules (maybe one rule, one exception to that rule, and perhaps an exception to that exception) can be stated in 20 seconds, it's easy to confuse the two.  Cases are important, but they're important in light of the underlying rule.  A discussion of the case should lead to an "Ah ha!" moment over that rule.

Hamilton

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Re: A typical law school class session?
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2010, 09:01:51 AM »
Agree that there is a lot of time wasted slogging through the case where the information could be presented more efficiently.  There is some value to the process of going through the cases, but not for nearly every course.  Might be better if law schools designed a curriculum that used 25% "old-school" going through the cases and 75% traditional "teaching" about the law.