Law School Advice (T10)

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Re: Law School Advice (T10)

Postby Helmholtz » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:02 pm

Were you guys aware of the bookmark feature (not trying to be snarky, it's just an easy way for me to keep track of articles like this)?

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Re: Law School Advice (T10)

Postby pearl_earrings » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:15 pm

Helmholtz wrote:Were you guys aware of the bookmark feature (not trying to be snarky, it's just an easy way for me to keep track of articles like this)?

I am now! Thanks!

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Re: Law School Advice (T10)

Postby Amelie » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:23 pm

pearl_earrings wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Were you guys aware of the bookmark feature (not trying to be snarky, it's just an easy way for me to keep track of articles like this)?

I am now! Thanks!

Lol +1

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Re: Law School Advice (T10)

Postby jcl2 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:48 pm

Helmholtz wrote:Were you guys aware of the bookmark feature (not trying to be snarky, it's just an easy way for me to keep track of articles like this)?

+1, much easier way to keep track of threads that you know you will want to come back to later on.

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Re: Law School Advice (T10)

Postby esmagalhaes » Mon May 09, 2011 10:52 am

I just wanted to add a few nuggets from what I've gleaned in the two semesters of classes I've taken so far. Some of it repeats what has been said. One caveat: I haven't got my grades this semester and my first semester performance was mediocre (3.5 gpa). That said...

0. Keep your eyes on the prize. There is one graded assignment for most law school classes - the final. Everything you do should revolve around preparing for that. Understanding what's gonna be on it; preparing for it; and so on. Don't get distracted by other stuff that's not graded - the in-class grilling, for example!!!

1. I strongly recommend looking at your professors' previous exams. Study them extremely closely. They are the best guide of what you'll be tested on. If you possibly can, try to find model answers from previous years, though alas these are only rarely available. The next best thing is to look at model answers from other professors. My experience is that the evaluation models are very similar between professors.

2. Definitely look at your exams from first (and each) semester. The typical model for professors is to let you look at your exam and compare it to one or two of the best. While this is of limited value - and a frustrating manifestation of law professor laziness - it is extremely important to confront what you've done and try to glean the differences between what you did and what others did. I'd recommend this even if you did as well as you wanted. You don't want success to be an accident.

3. Briefing is WAY overrated. There are two possible reasons to brief, one bad and the other awful. The bad reason is to prepare for the infamous law professor grilling. This is a bad reason because the dirty little secret is that only very very very rarely will your inquisition performance affect your grade. Of course one doesn't want to embarass oneself, but what I would recommend is that you tailor your preparation to your professor's style. If your professor lets people off the hook very easily, don't prepare much at all. If your professor is a waterboarder, then prepare accordingly. And of course, how much you prepare at all should be a function of the likelihood of your being called on. If the professor is one who attempts to call on everyone, volunteer to be grilled. That way you can control where the battle will be fought and relax for the other days.

This is all related to the awful reason to brief, which is to prepare for the exam. I have never gotten a single question that required knowledge of a case. Obviously cases are mentioned and principles extracted from cases in class, but that's just the thing, you can get all the information from class. And the class is the more authoritative and clearer guide to the principles you'll be tested on. I know it goes against the grain of what every authority figure will tell you in law school, but briefing is simply not beneficial. It doesn't even hone the skill you'll need for the exam. On the exam you apply law to facts; in the cases the law is presented to you from some facts.

4. Reading of the casebook is also overrated. Again, you'll be tested on principles of law. Only a very small percentage of the casebook presents or applies these principles. Thus a great percentage of your casebook reading energy is wasted. The principles can be gleaned from class. And there are other materials that allow you to apply these principles in a way more closely resembling the exam skill. (Q&A's, E&E's and others.)

I am very naturally inclined to doing what a professor tells me, so it wasn't easy for me to come to this realization, but I'm afraid it's true.

5. The single most important source of information for the exam is the class. Take good notes even if the professor sucks at relaying the information. 98% of the information on the exam will be stuff presented or identified in class. Hard as it is, don't Facebook or otherwise get distracted during class!!!

6. Outlines are also overrated, in my humble opinion. An outline is simply a summary of the information from the class. Many outlines one sees include much information one will not be tested on - the facts or holdings of cases. You'll be tested on principles of law - not holdings of cases, though of course those intersect sometimes. But you hardly ever need to identify a principle of law as a holding of a case, so there's no need to connect the two. Producing your own outline is unnecessary. You need to master the principles - in the sense of knowing them and being able to apply them to facts. So producing your own forces you to recognize the principles in a way you don't when you get someone else's principles, but just force yourself to apply the principles a lot, and this won't be a problem.

7. Practice, practice, practice. The exam will involve remembering what the principles of law are and applying them to factual situations. You should therefore practice this skill lots before the exam. Stupendously, a law school class involves very little of this. So you have to do it on your own. Do practice exams and multiple choice questions especially where answers are available. Though be aware that the law as presented in one book may not be the same as what your professor presented. So you gotta take the study aids with a bit of a grain of salt.

That's it.

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Re: Law School Advice (T10)

Postby JohnMarshall17 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:22 pm


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Re: Law School Advice (T10)

Postby Crowing » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:23 pm

JohnMarshall17 wrote:tag

You can bookmark topics instead of bumping all these years old threads

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