Law School Discussion

1L Advice

kmpnj

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Re: 1L Advice
« Reply #50 on: May 01, 2006, 09:32:36 AM »
I'm planning on reading a lot this summer, but mostly fun stuff.  For example, I still haven't read the Da Vinci Code (I know, I'm the only person in America who hasn't).  There are some other fluff novels I think I'd like to read over the summer.  I will be taking the Law Review prep course though.  The main reason I'm doing it is because the local one for me is the week before school starts.  So, after a summer of reading mostly fluff, it'll be like a one-week spring training of sorts to get my brain going again.  Don't know if its worth it (probably not), but I figure that its a good way to get my intellectual motor going, so I can hit the first week of school running.

Re: 1L Advice
« Reply #51 on: May 01, 2006, 09:48:39 AM »
I remember being in your shoes this time last year, and I received a lot of good advice from 1Ls, so I thought I'd do a little payback.  Here are my "hints."

Summer Reading:  Do nothing!  You're more likely to learn bad habits trying to be the 0L gunner over the summer.  If you must read, take a look at how courts are structured.  Many people in my class had no idea how the trial/appellate level system worked, and it's important when you're looking for binding vs persuasive authority.  If you're unclear of how they work and/or the hierarchy, read about it because it will not be covered in class. 

Class notes/reading is NOT enough:  Most of you already know this from being on this board, but most of your classmates will not.  One of the most annoying things in law school is how professors love to hide the ball and then expect you to play.  One of the ways to "discover the ball" is through commercial outlines, hornbooks, etc.  I'm partial to Examples and Explanations.  It will take your fellow students a semester to learn this; use it to your advantage!

Study for exams like they're a math test:  Most people approach law exams as though it's their poly sci final-- it's not!  You will be given a factual scenario that you have not seen and asked to apply legal premises to the facts.  This is much like math...  you know the general principles of how to differentiate/integrate/add/etc, but on the exam you'll see the problem in a form that you haven't worked with.  I prepared for my math tests with a formula sheet (which will be your law outline) and through practicing the problems!  I know it's cliche and seems obvious, but you must work hypotheticals in all parts of your class to get a firm grasp.  Nothing will focus you like having to explain the law.  It's all so clear when the professor is working through an issue in class, but, just like math, when it's you and the blank paper, things become more challenging.  You couldn't score well on math without working the problems... same thing here.

Legal writing is not for English majors:  The people with extensive writing backgrounds were crushed in legal writing.  Legal writing looks more like math (surprising?) than English.  They will focus on sharp, condensed sentences.  For an excellent example of modern day legal writing, look up some opinions by judge Easterbrook (7th Circuit court of appeals).  Do not read the opinion for the law, but for an idea of how legal writing should look.  Once you can rid yourself of the idea that you'll be writing verbose prose, the better you'll be.

Take LEEWS:  I can't stress it enough, but that helped me to all As.  There is more than one way to skin the proverbial cat, and I'm sure there are other ways to writing exams which work, but this one is proven.  Buy it.

Half of your class is there because of their parents:  Shocking to learn, but many are there because of outside pressures.  They are not your competition and will not put up much of a fight.  This also tends to be true at the Harvards of the world as well.

Don't be a dickhead:  If someone asks you a question, answer it.  If someone asks which outline you like the best, tell them.  That doesn't mean you have to go around giving up "secrets", but if you're asked a pointed question, give a pointed answer.  It'll serve you much better in the long run.

Do not join anything your first year:  People will disagree with me on this, but you have three years to pad your resume; how about you start by padding it with As?  There's plenty of time for this stuff, but none of that time will be found in your first year.  Get the grades!!

I hope this helps, and I'll post more as it comes to me. :)

this is all excellent. let me just add that I am a big believer in the "Crunchtime" series which is super-super boiled down commercial outlines. very effective to help you get the big picture in teh course

Re: 1L Advice
« Reply #52 on: May 01, 2006, 09:52:47 AM »

I've answered this a few times in this thread.. I did not read.

If you did, you erased... I checked through your old posts before I asked.... you told us not to read, but didn't mention whether you had or had not.

For me, there are things I'd rather not give up entirely my first year: playing tennis, seeing my bf, working out, etc.  If I can make more time for myself in my first year by getting a better sense of the topics now, I don't see the prob... it's truly not about being a gunner, I promise.  ;)

Let me add, I have a two hour daily commute by train. so I'm going to be reading something anyway, whether it's legal-related or not...

AZWildcat

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Re: 1L Advice
« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2006, 10:27:20 AM »

I've answered this a few times in this thread.. I did not read.

If you did, you erased... I checked through your old posts before I asked.... you told us not to read, but didn't mention whether you had or had not.

For me, there are things I'd rather not give up entirely my first year: playing tennis, seeing my bf, working out, etc.  If I can make more time for myself in my first year by getting a better sense of the topics now, I don't see the prob... it's truly not about being a gunner, I promise.  ;)

Let me add, I have a two hour daily commute by train. so I'm going to be reading something anyway, whether it's legal-related or not...

I see you cannot be deterred, so I'll leave you with this bit of advice...  It is likely you will learn bad habits.  (e.g. E&E will tell you about a majority rule, but your professor will harp on the minority rule and "your state" will follow the minority rule)  Be flexible and disciplined enough to forget a lot of your reading. 

Re: 1L Advice
« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2006, 12:27:15 PM »
Matthies it is May...who's the new dictator of the month??? 

Thank you for the writing advice.

Re: 1L Advice
« Reply #55 on: May 01, 2006, 12:55:33 PM »
Matthies it is May...who's the new dictator of the month??? 

Thank you for the writing advice.

Ack, good point, any suggestions? Too much law school, not enough dictator research!

I've only seen Il Duce and Mao.

Pol Pot? Charles Taylor? Franco? Pinochet?

Re: 1L Advice
« Reply #56 on: May 01, 2006, 01:39:46 PM »

I've answered this a few times in this thread.. I did not read.

If you did, you erased... I checked through your old posts before I asked.... you told us not to read, but didn't mention whether you had or had not.

For me, there are things I'd rather not give up entirely my first year: playing tennis, seeing my bf, working out, etc.  If I can make more time for myself in my first year by getting a better sense of the topics now, I don't see the prob... it's truly not about being a gunner, I promise.  ;)

Let me add, I have a two hour daily commute by train. so I'm going to be reading something anyway, whether it's legal-related or not...

I see you cannot be deterred, so I'll leave you with this bit of advice...  It is likely you will learn bad habits.  (e.g. E&E will tell you about a majority rule, but your professor will harp on the minority rule and "your state" will follow the minority rule)  Be flexible and disciplined enough to forget a lot of your reading. 

Thanks for all your advice (I mean that sincerely)!  I just know I'd be more nervous going in if I did nothing... also, I've been out of school for a while, and intend to take it more seriously than I have in the past.  I will try to be flexible, as you say.

Also, thanks 1L Duce for the tips on the writing books--that's a good idea (for those of us who have to do something).  :)

AZWildcat

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Re: 1L Advice
« Reply #57 on: May 01, 2006, 01:41:00 PM »
Oh, as to classmates who are at law school because of their parents or some other reason.

I think you will find a few of these people at all law schools, but more at schools with good locations. We have a few here at Denver like that. Who came to law school with two priorities; first and foremost to ski as much as possible (you can ski with in 2 hours of Denver from October till June sometimes) second, for law school.

My hunch is that San Diego, with all its amenities, would be similar. However the more remote or not exciting your law school location, the fewer of these people you will likely have in your class.

Unfortunately, itís not enough, at least here, to affect your competation in any measurable way, but they can be big distracters if they convince you to spend every free minuet on the slopes or at the beach.


In talking to classmates, you are hard pressed to figure out who these people are.  The only way I was privy to this information was through my legal writing professor.  (They'll confide in professors, not in you.)

These people are everywhere, and they are in force.

cyberrev

Re: 1L Advice
« Reply #58 on: May 01, 2006, 02:29:19 PM »
Matthies it is May...who's the new dictator of the month??? 

Thank you for the writing advice.

Ack, good point, any suggestions? Too much law school, not enough dictator research!

I've only seen Il Duce and Mao.

Pol Pot? Charles Taylor? Franco? Pinochet?

All goodies, I was thinking on the Doc's, Papa and Baby as well, need to do some research tonight after I finish my outline


ah, good choice

Re: 1L Advice
« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2006, 05:17:05 PM »
My legal writing class was a joke, but I guess I'm in the minority.