Law School Discussion

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Poll

1Ls, how do you feel at this point in the semester?

Totally on top of it.  Outlines in great shape.  Preparing for Exams.
 3 (33.3%)
Current with reading, but need to put more effort into outlines and exam prep.
 2 (22.2%)
Mostly current with reading.  Only slightly behind.
 2 (22.2%)
Clearly falling behind.  Not current with reading.  Starting to feel overwhelmed.
 1 (11.1%)
Totally lost.
 1 (11.1%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Voting closed: October 23, 2011, 10:45:40 AM

Author Topic: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?  (Read 3589 times)

Hamilton

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Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2011, 12:37:27 PM »
There is a difference between being totally unprepared to discuss a case and not knowing some fine details when asked by the prof.  EVERYONE at some point does not know the answer to a specific detail asked about, but so long as you are capable of discussing the basic facts of the case and rule of law it does not matter.  Profs will only waste time going after you if you are habitually totally unprepared and have not done any work to prepare for class.

If you say so guys. Plenty of Profs have been "I don't care who fails" and let you check facebook all day. Most of mine though actually have asked specific details of each case and made students stand up in front of the class while doing it. They claim they learned it in some archaic movie called the "paper chase" (which I hear had hippies crying or some BS in it)

Socratic method. What do you THINK it means?

justanothersucker

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Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2011, 05:00:01 PM »
ok, we are saying the same thing then. Know your cases enough to discuss them in class, don't skip them all together. Do outlines too for extra help. I agree.

Cher1300

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Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2011, 12:30:24 PM »
I do agree with duncanjp.  What I'm finding so far, is some of the ones looking for shortcuts are wasting a lot of time trying to figure out the short cuts.  There is a difference between being disciplined and reading and taking shortcuts to "how can I get through law school and do the least amuont of work possible."  It really hasn't been long enough for us 1Ls to be too condfident, yet I hear some students brag about how they only skimmed the case and got it, etc.   The fact is, it really doesn't matter until test time comes.  I'm not sure if they're just trying to psych people out, but as I said before, I really don't care this early on. 

There is also a difference depending upon your professors.  My torts professor is ADAMANT about briefing cases and having you rewrite and come up with the holding in your own words.  She badgered one student who didn't brief her case and reiterated that this is what she expects for first year students.  Our contracts professor, on the other hand, really doesn't care if we brief the case.  She does expect us to know the issue, holding, and rule, but said she would rather we spend our time doing our outlines and practice exams.  I have used canned briefs as a reference.  Especially for the older cases that have a lot of useless wording, but will continue to brief the cases myself for at least the first semester.  It has been easier already to spot the holdings, etc., and I'll probably do less as time goes on.  I wouldn't, however, just say brief or don't brief.  Maybe the ones who don't brief will do better on the exams than I will, but I will do my outlines and practice exams also.  I just think there is a fine line between being efficient by using shortcuts and just being plain lazy.   

FalconJimmy

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Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2011, 06:47:12 PM »
One thing that's astounded me so far is the number of students who, when called on in class, readily admit that they didn't read the case.  Note, I didn't say "brief"... they didn't read the case. 

Sometimes it can take a chunk of time to do all the case reading.  Some classes aren't that bad.  2 or 3 cases for each class.  (Each class meets twice a week.)  Others are more like 5.

So far, once in a while a random prof will have the class brief a case and turn it in, but for the most part, so long as you can show that you at least read the case, you're okay in class.  The profs, at least so far, aren't grilling people.  They just want to keep the class participative and to know that the students have read the cases.

Personally, I don't think the students are blowing off the briefs because they think they have a better method.  I think they're blowing off the briefs because they're not putting the work in.

As the semester goes by, I find I can absorb the information in a case much, much faster.  Generally, I can cover about 5 cases an hour to the point where I can at least talk about them.  Figure maybe 25 or so total cases for the week and that's not really that bad if you ask me. 

Where I wish I were doing more work is on my outlines and doing practice exams.  My son is playing football right now, and I'm helping coach.  Practices are 2 hours a day and games on weekends.  Fortunately, the season ends in exactly 2 more weeks.  That should let me focus solely on exam prep for a month and a half before exams.

I'll tell ya one thing, though, I sure wish I'd done all this before my life got so complicated.  Though, in all honesty, if all I had to do all week is prepare for law school classes, I would probably be just like the kids who show up without having read the cases. 

We have two graded assignments before the finals roll around.  One is a legal memo for our writing class, and the other is a mid-term for property.  Other than that, all the grades are based on the final exam.  So, I'm trying to focus hard on the memo and the mid-term, then get ready for finals. 

So far, I can honestly say that this has been a lot of fun.  Some of that is that I bring that "old guy" enthusiasm that I always found so annoying when I was younger.  The non-traditional students came in and they usually were pretty business-like and focused.  Back when I was young, I was always paying attention to everything BUT school. 

I'm not stressed out, yet, but I'm also not really kicking into exam-prep mode either.  Plus, as others have pointed out, it's far too soon to comment one way or another on whether what I am doing is enough or not.  Until we have 1L grades, we're just guessing, at best. 

justanothersucker

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Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2011, 08:47:18 PM »
students who dont at least read the cases will suffer on the exam. Want to know why? Profs base their scenarios of their essays largely on the cases, and not normally the big commonly known ones you see in your canned briefs you can buy with bubble gum, I mean the "note cases" in between that they may not even mention in class. Trust me, it happens a lot. If you read it, you can win extra points by even refering to the case by name(if you remember it) and key details of the case. They might only "give" points for elements and exact case names, but if you show them you know what you are talking about, they find ways to round you up to the next grade. They just do. Same vice versa for when they smell duesh and want to take what should be an A- and magicly find a way to turn it into a B.

bigs5068

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Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2011, 10:24:57 PM »
I think you are seeing why sites like JDunderground frustrate me so much.  Many law students simply do not put in the work, then they complain and take no responsibility for themselves I truly wish professors would be harder on students who don't prepare, but that is another topic

Some helpful hints that I didn't realize until second semester for FalconJimmy are Cali Lessons and ECaseBriefs when studying for your final. I remember referring back to e-case briefs site and just reading the synopsis they provide which was really helpful. Cali Lessons are an easy thing to use and I found them very helpful. I think more important than outlining is doing the proper amount of practice problems particularly if you have multiple choice questions. It is very nuanced, but there are only so many trick ways to ask a question and once you have done enough of them you see a pattern. It sounds like you have been staying on top of it, but remember practicing the problems are KEY!  I know everyone learns differently, but I just wanted to offer some friendly suggestions that have worked for me. Good luck.

FalconJimmy

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Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2011, 09:42:55 AM »
Thanks Bigs.  Starting in November, my plan is to do prodigious amounts of practice exams.  Essay questions, MCQs, anything I can get my hands on. 

Cher1300

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Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2011, 12:04:42 PM »
Falconjimmy, I hear you on the "old" person enthusiasm.  I think you are correct that it goes beyond briefing to just not putting the work in.  Most of the people not doing the work tend to be the younger students just out of undergrad.  Not all - but many.  Although it does take a chunk of time to read the cases, it's really not that bad.  As time goes on it takes less and less time to get through them.   At least read the cases if you don't want to brief them or don't feel like you need to.
I spoke to a 2L last week who did really well last year and he credits a big part of it having to do with not being young and not feeling like he needed a social life.  One guy complained that reading the cases is confusing and it's stupid to make law students brief cases because he's going to be a rainmaker.  LOL  And he was dead serious. 
As justanothersucker says, you won't get additional points for citing elements of the restatements.   The practice exams we've been given so far are scenarios similar to that of the cases.  As time goes on and we read more cases, it will be essential to at least have notes if not briefs. 
For most of us, however, we are putting the time in and I'm hoping it will pay off if we can keep it up.  Good luck!

jack24

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Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2011, 02:58:22 PM »
First:  What benefit do you get from reading the cases? (I'm not implying there isn't any)

Second: Yes, in most cases you absolutely will get extra points for mentioning things not covered in class.  Professors pretend that their test grading is so accurate and particular.  They claim that they will only give points for things covered in class.  However, I got plenty of points for public policy and logical arguments that weren't covered in class.  I brought my professional experience into finals all the time and got a lot of points.  Professors also warned against using commercial supplements because they would include information that wasn't covered in class.  I relied on these all the time and got points because the law was correct.  Law school grading is about organization, black letter laws, exceptions, good logic and application, and then interesting points that the teacher likes.  I took a risk one time and went off on how the fact pattern in a final would never happen, and it wouldn't be in the business' best interest to sue.  I said if they did sue, the issues and likely outcome would be _____, but the first question is whether a law suit was even a good idea.   I got the book award in that class even though the teacher had professed that he would not give points for anything that wasn't covered in class.

Finally, I don't think anyone is saying you shouldn't read the cases. However, don't think that it's the most effective method just because that's what you are "supposed" to do.  For every minute you spend reading the book you could be doing something else.

bigs5068

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Re: 1Ls: How are you doing after the first month+?
« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2011, 07:05:40 PM »
Also do practice exams TIMED! Many of the first year essays are racehorse and you need to know how balance your time etc. Many people first semester complained about running out of time etc and you can know the law backwards and forwards if you don't write half the stuff down because you ran out of time your not getting good grade. You need to learn how organize and outline your answers as well as know how much time you can realistically devote to each topic.

Another thing I thing that is extremely important is to use headings to separate your topics. It won't necessarily give you more points, but in reality a well organized easy to follow exam will make your professor pleased when they are taking 100 or so of them home.