Law School Discussion

2L here - questions anyone?

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #90 on: May 25, 2007, 02:55:16 PM »
you can do just fine by getting a commercial outine with case summaries thats geared to your text book, and never actually read or brief a case.

high court case summaries are like manna from heaven.

I'm a big fan of keyed briefs myself, however be sure not to rely on them too much.  It can give you a false sense of security, since keyed briefs vary in quality and many don't give you the same perspective on tough issues that you would find if you read the case/paid attention in class.  Keyed briefs tend to oversimplify, therefore they may lull you into complacency and cause you to not pay a lot of attention in class, i.e. you tune out at the beginning of the discussion because "I already know this stuff" and end up missing the key few sentences from the prof that will be valuable on the exam.

I'd say keyed briefs are a nice supplement, however I would use them in the following way:

1) Read keyed briefs before class.
2) Take excellent notes during class.  This will be easier for you because you'll get the 'big picture' from the keyed briefs, while your professor will fill in the areas he found most important.  The prof will also expand upon these areas beyond what is found in the briefs.
3) Go back and quickly read the case out of the casebook, focusing primarily on the part of the opinion where the rule(s) your teacher focused on are most clearly stated.  This takes much less time than you would think. 

This may seem counterintuitive, but it worked great for me and I think it is a great way to attack first year. 

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #91 on: May 25, 2007, 03:03:59 PM »
you can do just fine by getting a commercial outine with case summaries thats geared to your text book, and never actually read or brief a case.

high court case summaries are like manna from heaven.

I'm a big fan of keyed briefs myself, however be sure not to rely on them too much.  It can give you a false sense of security, since keyed briefs vary in quality and many don't give you the same perspective on tough issues that you would find if you read the case/paid attention in class.  Keyed briefs tend to oversimplify, therefore they may lull you into complacency and cause you to not pay a lot of attention in class, i.e. you tune out at the beginning of the discussion because "I already know this stuff" and end up missing the key few sentences from the prof that will be valuable on the exam.


2) Take excellent notes during class.  This will be easier for you because you'll get the 'big picture' from the keyed briefs, while your professor will fill in the areas he found most important.  The prof will also expand upon these areas beyond what is found in the briefs.
3) Go back and quickly read the case out of the casebook, focusing primarily on the part of the opinion where the rule(s) your teacher focused on are most clearly stated.  This takes much less time than you would think. 

This may seem counterintuitive, but it worked great for me and I think it is a great way to attack first year. 

my crimlaw prof outlawed laptops for the first six weeks of class b/c he said they interfere with your paying attention skills.  he claimed that with the laptop in front of you, you will be focused more on transcribing the lecture and less on engaging the material.  after 6 weeks about half of the class brought their laptops back in.  i think i am gonna take notes by hand next year.

jd06

  • ****
  • 120
    • View Profile
Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #92 on: May 25, 2007, 03:18:18 PM »
I'd strongly recommend reading each case in its entirety (they're already edited for your case book) and doing your own briefing.  Understanding how and why the court reached its conclusion can be just as important as knowing what it held.  In some classes (e.g. Con Law and Evidence) it is absolutely critical that you understand the "why."  The end result is that you'll be more engaged in class, your depth of knowledge will be much greater, and, most importantly, because the final exam will likely reflect familiar fact patterns with slight tweaks to allow for a different result, you'll perform better.  If you're serious about the law, get used to working hard.  Graduation is just the beginning...   

fuwaf

  • *****
  • 15439
    • View Profile
Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #93 on: May 25, 2007, 04:13:40 PM »

the highlighter method is for people who want a system and who like pretty colors.  you highlight the holding in one color, and the rule in another, and so forth.  i think its a waste of time.  once you have read a few weeks worth of cases for four classes and attended the corresponding lectures you should know what to look for in the cases and what to ignore.  its one of those things that you learn by feel, and once i knew what to look for i could do 20 pages of reading in a half hour and be ready for class.

buuuut, you can do just fine by getting a commercial outine with case summaries thats geared to your text book, and never actually read or brief a case.

My .02, having read Law School Confidential

I did the rainbow highlighter thing and I liked it, but that's because I would read the case, highlight in the different colors, and write my brief from what I highlighted.  It was just easier for me that way because I could go straight to the highlighted crap in the appropriate color and pull what I needed from the case.  I definitely didn't highlight everything, but I did brief most of the cases I read... towards the end of the semester I just started writing the rules down instead because I got tired of briefing and my professors weren't going to call on me.  Also, I do think the highlighter system is helpful in class because my briefs didn't help me at all.  My briefs were more a way for me to read and understand the case than a tool for class participation.  I looked far more at the book when I got called on for specific details, and that's when the highlighting was nice too.

As far as the outlining tip goes, I think the daily outlining thing is very good advice in theory, but I think it is nearly impossible to do, especially first semester.  Yes, it would be awesome to keep up a daily outline, but first semester you don't even really know what to outline until halfway through the semester.  You can TRY to outline earlier, but at the end of the semester you will end up going back and changing crap around because what you thought was important at first isn't, or your outline is way too long and has a lot of extra junk in it... so I really don't think it's a plausible idea.  It's also just a female dog in terms of time.  Reading and being prepared for class is much more urgent on a day-to-day basis than outlining.  With that said, I am not joking when I said I outlined during every school break (fall break, Thanksgiving, most of spring break) and I am damn glad I did.  A lot of people thought I was crazy for doing things like reading ahead and spending my breaks outlining while I watched TV, but my hard work really paid off.  I do think that outlining throughout the semester is a good idea because you won't be frantically outlining in the days before a final... I could just study my outlines instead, and I had a much more relaxed exam period than most.  But outlining every day is just not easy. 

I didn't do LEEWS and I turned out just fine.  I will say that I think professors respond to good writing skills, organization, and spelling on the exams.  I mean, obviously a well-written piece of crap isn't going to get you an A, but I really worked on organizing my thoughts very clearly and writing well, instead of just typing unconnected bits of thoughts as they came into my head.  I didn't spend much time outlining my answer or anything like that (I generally just started typing and organized as I went along) and I tried to hit as much information as possible. 

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #94 on: May 25, 2007, 04:20:05 PM »
I'd strongly recommend reading each case in its entirety (they're already edited for your case book) and doing your own briefing.  Understanding how and why the court reached its conclusion can be just as important as knowing what it held.  In some classes (e.g. Con Law and Evidence) it is absolutely critical that you understand the "why."  The end result is that you'll be more engaged in class, your depth of knowledge will be much greater, and, most importantly, because the final exam will likely reflect familiar fact patterns with slight tweaks to allow for a different result, you'll perform better.  If you're serious about the law, get used to working hard.  Graduation is just the beginning...   

The problem with your advice is you are spouting off cliches without enough detail.  You may have valuable advice to give, but you are not conveying it in an effective manner.

I'd strongly recommend reading each case in its entirety (they're already edited for your case book) and doing your own briefing.   

Do you recommend these 1Ls do this before class? Throughout the entire semester and not just to get the hang of it?  What use will all your case briefs be when studying for finals/composing an outline?  How do you incorporate your briefs into your outline?  Do you recommend re-reading the cases after class?   What is your method for editing your briefs (assuming you are suggesting to brief pre-class) to focus on the ideas your prof was keying on, and also what is your suggested method to remove unnecessary text from these briefs to save time if you plan to review them before a final exam?

Understanding how and why the court reached its conclusion can be just as important as knowing what it held.  In some classes (e.g. Con Law and Evidence) it is absolutely critical that you understand the "why."     

First of all, evidence is not generally a first year course.  Second, of course understanding the judicial reasoning (i.e. "the why") is the most important part of law school. It is critical in every class to know the "why" if you want to get an A.  My problem is you're simply stating the end without sufficient explanation of the means, which is the entire point of this thread.  It's like saying "You have to know the law very well to do great in law school.  Hope that  helps."  Sure it's true, but it's of little practical use.

The end result is that you'll be more engaged in class, your depth of knowledge will be much greater, and, most importantly, because the final exam will likely reflect familiar fact patterns with slight tweaks to allow for a different result, you'll perform better.

The end result of what?   You need to be more specific in terms of your suggested studying methods. 
Why is your suggested method (which you have no outlined in sufficient detail to be of any use to a 0L) superior to the one I suggested?  I'm not saying I'm right, but you a) haven't explained your method other than cliches nor b) explained why my suggested method is inadequate.

If you're serious about the law, get used to working hard.  Graduation is just the beginning...   

Again, empty cliches are useless and will not help these 0Ls at all.  I'm here to help, not spout cheesy cliches with no practical application.


I have no problem with you giving advice in this thread.  I think my arguments with a few people (astro for instance) in this thread have helped lend valuable perspective to this discussion of advice for 0Ls, however I think you need to be more specific in your advice to contribute in a meaningful way.  I look forward to further discussion, as I think your point of view is a valuable alternative perspective, however this is simply an inference at this point since you haven't yet disclosed the substance of your advice.

jd06

  • ****
  • 120
    • View Profile
Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #95 on: May 25, 2007, 04:56:56 PM »
Sorry.  Had no intent of hijacking your thread.  I meant to make a generalized comment about the use of canned briefs in response to another poster's suggestion that they might serve as a sufficient substitute for briefing your own cases. I believe that my generalized response was, however, appropriate because I found that no two students used precisely the same means to get to the end.  Yours may be the absolute best.  I'm not arguing.  I just observe that each student generally develops his own style over the course of his tenure.  (P.S. As my moniker indicates I graduated in '06 and am now a practicing attorney in CA, for what that's worth. I stick around these boards 'cause I loved law school!)   

My style?  Briefed every case on my laptop prior to class.  Took the laptop to class and, below each case, took class notes.  Towards the end of the semester, re-read and condensed the cases (distilling down to facts upon which the case turned and editing out much of the reasoning), bolded the holdings, and incorported same via copy/paste into an outline.  Always had a good commerical outline available at this point (typically Emanuels), and only at this point, to ensure that I was capturing the "big picture" and to clear up any areas I was uncertain about.  I would even add in language from the commercial outline into my outline if I felt the author "said it" better than I did.  Whatever it took to help me understand and remember.

Hope that helps a bit.  Sorry again. I gotta run for the weekend...

vap

  • ****
  • 1307
  • Attorney
    • View Profile
Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #96 on: May 25, 2007, 06:10:45 PM »
tag

Thistle

  • *****
  • 6324
    • View Profile
Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #97 on: May 25, 2007, 07:25:08 PM »
you can do just fine by getting a commercial outine with case summaries thats geared to your text book, and never actually read or brief a case.

high court case summaries are like manna from heaven.

I'm a big fan of keyed briefs myself, however be sure not to rely on them too much.  It can give you a false sense of security, since keyed briefs vary in quality and many don't give you the same perspective on tough issues that you would find if you read the case/paid attention in class.  Keyed briefs tend to oversimplify, therefore they may lull you into complacency and cause you to not pay a lot of attention in class, i.e. you tune out at the beginning of the discussion because "I already know this stuff" and end up missing the key few sentences from the prof that will be valuable on the exam.


2) Take excellent notes during class.  This will be easier for you because you'll get the 'big picture' from the keyed briefs, while your professor will fill in the areas he found most important.  The prof will also expand upon these areas beyond what is found in the briefs.
3) Go back and quickly read the case out of the casebook, focusing primarily on the part of the opinion where the rule(s) your teacher focused on are most clearly stated.  This takes much less time than you would think. 

This may seem counterintuitive, but it worked great for me and I think it is a great way to attack first year. 

my crimlaw prof outlawed laptops for the first six weeks of class b/c he said they interfere with your paying attention skills.  he claimed that with the laptop in front of you, you will be focused more on transcribing the lecture and less on engaging the material.  after 6 weeks about half of the class brought their laptops back in.  i think i am gonna take notes by hand next year.


my crim law prof outlawed them for the entire semester.  i wonder if theyre related

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #98 on: May 26, 2007, 03:56:46 AM »
you can do just fine by getting a commercial outine with case summaries thats geared to your text book, and never actually read or brief a case.

high court case summaries are like manna from heaven.

I'm a big fan of keyed briefs myself, however be sure not to rely on them too much.  It can give you a false sense of security, since keyed briefs vary in quality and many don't give you the same perspective on tough issues that you would find if you read the case/paid attention in class.  Keyed briefs tend to oversimplify, therefore they may lull you into complacency and cause you to not pay a lot of attention in class, i.e. you tune out at the beginning of the discussion because "I already know this stuff" and end up missing the key few sentences from the prof that will be valuable on the exam.


2) Take excellent notes during class.  This will be easier for you because you'll get the 'big picture' from the keyed briefs, while your professor will fill in the areas he found most important.  The prof will also expand upon these areas beyond what is found in the briefs.
3) Go back and quickly read the case out of the casebook, focusing primarily on the part of the opinion where the rule(s) your teacher focused on are most clearly stated.  This takes much less time than you would think. 

This may seem counterintuitive, but it worked great for me and I think it is a great way to attack first year. 

my crimlaw prof outlawed laptops for the first six weeks of class b/c he said they interfere with your paying attention skills.  he claimed that with the laptop in front of you, you will be focused more on transcribing the lecture and less on engaging the material.  after 6 weeks about half of the class brought their laptops back in.  i think i am gonna take notes by hand next year.


my crim law prof outlawed them for the entire semester.  i wonder if theyre related

weird.  they must be related.  wierd.

Re: 2L here - questions anyone?
« Reply #99 on: May 26, 2007, 07:19:49 AM »
3. Don't worry about getting called on or class prep.  This assumes grading at your school is anonymous.  Focus on the big picture when preparing for class.

I didn't read through this whole thing to know if anyone said anything about this...but I also just finished my 1L and, although my school has anonymous grading, the professors often have some kind of participation grade that they add in when the grades are done, and a lot of this grade comes from when they call on people and the person gives the right answer.

So even though you should focus on the big picture, you still have to know all the details of the cases just in case you get called on, at least in my experience.

But generally my professors and the students in my classes don't belittle someone if they don't know the answer.