Law School Discussion

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laur0212

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I just want to do all of the work now so I can skip class and sleep all semester until finals.

I figure it'll work out nicely.

Just wait until you find out that in order for a school to maintain ABA accredidation the students are required to attend 80% of all their classes.  That was a bummer.

slacker

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Have fun before your 1L year.  Don't try to teach yourself any law --- its not worth it and you're not benefitting yourself at all.  Your professors may teach differently than the books do and its way more important to know how your professors want you to deal with a subject than how an E&E tells you to do it.  That said, I think you should feel free to get anything that gives you a better idea of how to deal with everything once you get to law school, but please don't read Planet Law School.  That guy is just full of sh*t.

I know that many people think that its beneficial to try to learn stuff before your 1L year but I tried it (to a reasonable extent) and it wasn't helpful in the least.
This is a very good point. What makes someone successful at law school is not knowing the law, as much as knowing how the professor wants to see the law discussed and analyzed.

Heavens forbid some of us may be actually trying to learn the bar so that it'll be easier when we're studying for the bar and practicing later on for the rest of our lives instead of just learning just enough about what the prof wants us to know for one final exam.
Speaking as someone who is taking the bar this summer...

Learning how to present the law for a professor's exam does make you successful in law school. You can ignore this advice all you wish; I don't doubt that several people who know the black letter law quite well still grade out every year.

Being able to distinguish how to present what information and when is a necessary skill for being a lawyer.

laur0212

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Have fun before your 1L year.  Don't try to teach yourself any law --- its not worth it and you're not benefitting yourself at all.  Your professors may teach differently than the books do and its way more important to know how your professors want you to deal with a subject than how an E&E tells you to do it.  That said, I think you should feel free to get anything that gives you a better idea of how to deal with everything once you get to law school, but please don't read Planet Law School.  That guy is just full of sh*t.

I know that many people think that its beneficial to try to learn stuff before your 1L year but I tried it (to a reasonable extent) and it wasn't helpful in the least.
This is a very good point. What makes someone successful at law school is not knowing the law, as much as knowing how the professor wants to see the law discussed and analyzed.

Heavens forbid some of us may be actually trying to learn the bar so that it'll be easier when we're studying for the bar and practicing later on for the rest of our lives instead of just learning just enough about what the prof wants us to know for one final exam.
Speaking as someone who is taking the bar this summer...

Learning how to present the law for a professor's exam does make you successful in law school. You can ignore this advice all you wish; I don't doubt that several people who know the black letter law quite well still grade out every year.

Being able to distinguish how to present what information and when is a necessary skill for being a lawyer.

Let's face it, no one is listening to us.  We're just the know-it-all actual law students who have experience to speak from.  Why on earth would anyone listen to someone like that?!?!

slacker

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Let's face it, no one is listening to us.  We're just the know-it-all actual law students who have experience to speak from.  Why on earth would anyone listen to someone like that?!?!
Exactly. We should leave the kids to play with themselves, which seems to be all they want to do, anyway.

cesco

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I'll jump on the bandwagon that prepping is not helpful.

I read PLS II, Law School Confidential, and started Getting to Maybe.  These books are all great to get a feel for what you are getting youself into, but as for the actual content - I really think trying to teach yourself ahead of time will end up being more confusing than helpful. 

I bought the Torts E&E and read like 1/3 of it before school started.  I got to class, and it turned out that my prof started backwards and taught negligence before intentional torts.  I think the "prep" should be getting comfortable with what an outline is, how to brief cases, what law school exams look like, etc.... not the actual material.  Leave that for the professors to teach.
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The people who've actually sat in a law class have roundly made it clear that pre-studying doesn't help.

I'm not sure if they're also saying that pre-studying is harmful, because you start teaching yourself by your own improvised methods, which are inevitably wrong. Are they?


laur0212

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Let's face it, no one is listening to us.  We're just the know-it-all actual law students who have experience to speak from.  Why on earth would anyone listen to someone like that?!?!

Oh get the @#!* over yourself. It's not like you're the only f-ing student on this board, and it's not like some of us haven't solicited advice from others already in or through law school. So studying before law school didn't (or wouldn't) work for you. Great. But it has worked for several people I know, and I'm sure I'm not the only one in this "privileged" position.

Don't presume that what worked (or didn't work) for you might not work for someone else. You're still being f-ing silly.

Now I'm being so "silly" that its necessary for you to swear at me?  And me, get over myself???  Don't mind if I take that one with a grain of salt.

Kaleetan

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A lot of people are saying to relax over the summer. This is probably good advice. However IF you must do something, having just finished off my first year, here's some reading that will make your first semester easier:

Examples and Explanations -
Torts - Chapter 4 (the reasonable person) - This is probably one of the most imprtant concepts you will learn in LS! It will show up all over the place. Chapter 10 (The elusive element of duty) - Read this one 2-3 times. Chapter 7 (Cause in fact AKA actual cause). Chapter 9 (proximate cause)- Read this on at least 3 times - I'm not kidding about this - just wait till you have to read Palsgraf - I hate Cardozo's writing style.

Examples and Explanations
Contracts - Read chapters 1-9. If you can stomach any farther, read through chapter 12, ending on the Parol Evidence Rule.

E&E Property - Read chapter 1-8. (this is not actually that much reading, unlike contracts.) Then read chapter 9 twice and chapter 10 3 times. These chapters cover estates and future interests, and this will probably me some of the more confusing stuff you'll encounter your 1st semester, mainly because of all the terminology involved.

E&E Civ Pro - Read all the stuff on personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, and venue. Also read the chapters on notice, and supplimental jurisdiction. You'll need a copy of the federal rules of civ pro for this.

Make sure you work through all the examples at the end of each chapter. THE READING WILL BE USELESS UNLESS YOU WORK THROUGH THE HYPOS. Working through the hypos is how you'll learn the rules of law from each chapter.

That covers my recomended reading. If you do all of it you'll have a huge head start for the semester, which will make life easier. When you start off, you'll probably find learning the law just from the textbooks to be difficult. If you always read a supliment before you read the text assignment, you'll find reading cases and notes from the texts to be considerably easier. By the time you reach your second semester, you'll probably need to use the supliments less, cuase you get good at picking up the stuff from the texts. It does take time and practice however.

I will also say the I did some reading before school started and it did help. I know others who also boned up and they did quite well.

Good Luck to all the future 1Ls.


Momo09

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I read PLS II, I read thru Delaney's Laerning Legal reasoning, I bought LEEWS and skim the book, never listened to the CDs, I read thru Law School Basics.

One of my classmates followed the 1 year plan outlined in PLS II and bought and read everything before school started.

Of course, the first weeks in Torts, we started learning about Whittier, Harper, James, and Holmes legal theories.  Our final contained eveolution of the legal doctrine and expansion of legally protected interests and judicial activism/passivism. 

If you have the above mentioned books, it is still HIGHLY UNLIKELY you will even know the answer to the questions asked on our final, or even be able to say anything intellegent about the conflicting theories in Torts.

Bottem line, if you are headed to a school that's taught by any lawyer who has practiced, start reading things recommended in PLS II because chances are that's what will be taught.  But if you are going to any school where the professors are interested in getting more Law Review articles published to discuss new legal theory or history of law then the commerical outline will be a total waste of time.
Bruin once again.

SilentSwirl

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Read all those 'classics' and recommended-by-friends books that you've been putting off your entire UG!

So, I agree (as a 0L who has no clue, really) about not trying to pre-learn material -- that's what you're going to school for! But, I don't see the harm in reading some books that might be helpful in knowing what to expect, or what others have thought of their experiences during school.

Here are some suggestions, in no particular order:

- Law School Confidential: The Complete Law School Survival Guide: By Students, For Students
- Getting to Maybe: How to Excel in Law School Exams
- Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success
- 1000 Days to the Bar, But the Practice of Law Begins Now
- Reading Like a Lawyer: Time-Saving Strategies for Reading Law Like an Expert
- (if this fits for you) The Internatonal Student's Survival Guide to Law School in the United States: Everything You Need to Succeed
- America's Greatest Places to Work with a Law Degree (and anything else by the "Job Goddess")

And, in a recent email from my school:

""Starting Off Right in Law School  by Carolyn Nygren gets good reviews by both internal and external colleagues and friends.  Here’s what the author says, in part, about why she wrote this book:

“Students do not need in-depth knowledge of the legal system to be ready for the first day of law school.  There are three years to learn the details.  They just need basics.  The first reason I wrote this book is to provide those essential basics.” 

It won’t answer all your questions, nor should it, but you might find it useful.  Anyway, it’s available on Amazon for $16.00 or less.""