Law School Discussion

"Studying" in law school

Re: "Studying" in law school
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2010, 01:47:41 PM »
The first thing you're going to have to do is learn how to read and brief cases. Once you have that down, then you can move on to outlining. Then, you can start doing practice exams. To get a good preview of what you'll learn, grab some of the Examples & Explanations for each subject you are taking. Then you can grab a good commerical outline just to see what an example of a good law school outline looks like. Then, the rest is really learned by doing it. I recommend that you learn how to write an exam sooner rather than later in the semester. Maybe ask your professor to give you some hypos that you can use a practice exams.

If you want something to help you from day one, I would say get ahold of an Emmanuel's Outline or an E&E. Either will give you a good overiew of the material you are going to cover.

Re: "Studying" in law school
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2010, 01:53:59 PM »
The problem - or one of the many problems - is that law schools, or at least law professors, to a large extent act as if their students are already lawyers.  Classroom lectures are often indistinguishable from water-cooler chit-chat among law firm partners.  This makes them interesting, but also useless for the uninitiated.

As with water-cooler chit-chat, however, you don't need to be expert to follow along and benefit. You just need enough of an understanding of the fundamental principals and terminology that you have something on which to hang all the apparently semi-random things your professor will say during class. 

Same thing (IMO) for case readings.  Reading the cases in depth before class is incredibly time-consuming and usually an exercise in frustration.  Instead, you might try just scanning the cases before class, or even reading a bit - but stop when your understanding is being taxed.  Don't try to understand the case ahead of time.  Instead, use your pre-class reading as a familiarization process to help the class lecture make sense.  Then, if you want, you can go back and read the case after class, when it will make sense (and go faster as a result).

The bottom line, for me, is that the standard law school reading materials don't give you what you need to teach yourself the law.  This is the opposite of many subject in college, where one could (and I often did) skip all the classes and do well on the exams based entirely on the textbook.  I would not recommend this for law school (believe be - I tried it).  You will drive yourself batty trying to extract anything useful from the casebooks by yourself.

On the other hand, the lectures alone are useless as well.  You must be prepared, and that means reading the materials.  Just don't overdo it.

/as with all things, everyone is different.  find your own way.

Re: "Studying" in law school
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2010, 02:18:09 PM »
Here is my reading list for prior to my start of law school in Aug 2011. They are listed in the order I am reading them   
1. Learning Legal Reasoning  (Delaney Books)
2.   Torts    (Glannon)        (as well as the Restatement to follow along when mentioned in the E & E)       
 3.  Contracts (as well as the UCC article 1 and 2)  (Blum)
 4.  Property (Burke & Snowe)
5.  Civil Pro  (Glannon)
6. Constitutional Law  (  May and Ides)
7.Criminal Law with exams and answers  (Delaney Books)
8.  Intro to the Law of Real Property (Moynihan/Kurtz)
9  How to do Your Best of Law School Exams  (Delaney Books) along with LEEWS

Re: "Studying" in law school
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2010, 02:19:17 PM »
I am currently working my way through torts at the present time.  So I have about 46 weeks left to finish the rest

Re: "Studying" in law school
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2010, 03:06:22 PM »
You will drive yourself batty trying to extract anything useful from the casebooks by yourself.

I guess I don't have that problem. I can get just what I need out of casebooks. It does help to have some sort of roadmap before a course, though.

Re: "Studying" in law school
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2010, 04:52:08 PM »
I would view the reading that you are doing prior to law school as a good vocabulary lesson, but that is about all you'll get out of it. If you don't apply the material, learning the rules won't help you that much. I can give you the basic rule for battery, but you won't understand it if you don't see how that gets applied under a variety of circumstances. In that sense, the E&E are really good because they demonstrate the application. The Glannon Guides are generally good in that regard, as well. At some point, though, you're going to have to learn how to extract those rules form cases or statutes. You'll also need to learn to synthesize seemingly conflicting cases into a coherent rule. Ultimately, that comes from reading lots of cases.

Re: "Studying" in law school
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2010, 05:42:12 PM »
I do not expect the books to teach me all that I should know.  Rather, I see it as a foundation for law school to be built upon. 

Similar to the path for skydiving.  I started out with a ground class on how to control the canopy before going out as a tandem and learning.  Next another class on emergency protocols.  This path is similar to the reading I am doing now.  But nothing can fully prepare you for opening that door 11,000 feet up and taking that leap.

Re: "Studying" in law school
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2010, 07:39:46 PM »
I suppose your reading schedule can't hurt. If anything, it will help you read faster during the semester. You'll be ahead of your peers.