An off the record look at Penn 1st Year Professors

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An off the record look at Penn 1st Year Professors

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:48 pm

Mods: Posted in employment so that anon may be used, feel free to move it or merge with Penn Law CO 2014 thread if you can keep anon in place.

To those who read this: I would ask you not to quote.

I thought that incoming students might appreciate one person's "outside of the bio" impressions of a few professors who teach mandatory 1st year courses (even though you don't yet know who you will have).

Parchamovsky - Property

Generally considered to be one of the 1Ls "favorite" professors, manages to run his 9AM class like a comedy hour - even manages to make zoning hilarious. Penn is well known for having one of the strongest property law faculties in the country due to cross-pollination w Wharton's #1 real estate program. Although Parchamovsky is Law school only to the best of my knowledge, the emphasis on the discipline really shows. Fairly reliable rumor has it that Penn flies him from Israel to Philadelphia every week to teach the 1st year property class. We calculated this to cost the school about 30K a year. Unlike a shit ton of other things the school spends $ on, this is tuition dollars well spent. The one thing that you need to beware of with Parchamovsky, however, is that he essentially delivers the outline that he wants you to use on the exam in his lectures. Often, this doesn't correspond all that well with what is in the book (e.g. a majority rule according to the book will be a minority rule according to Parchamovsky etc.). In addition, even the lecture notes don't correspond 100% to the released model answers yet you can't supplement your notes with the model answers because he only releases like 2 or 3 of them. There is also very little overlap with any published study guide that I've been able to find. The tests in the E&E for instance are way off base from what he wants you to use. Extremely accessible during office hours. Reading loads are INSANE.

Austin - Torts
I think professor Austin gets an unjustifiably bad rap. I think that people make the mistake of assuming that since she emphasizes policy much more heavily than any other professor that he class is somehow less practical than the profs who teach “BLL”. In point of fact, I think the opposite is true. Austin jokes about her class preparing students to at least work for an insurance defense firm while knowing full well that most kids are gunning for BIGLAW. However, Torts cases, whether at the micro or macro level are susceptible to policy spins for one reason – a case will either be decided by a jury or settlement will occur based on what a the parties predict that a jury will do. Juries, in-spite of how the judge may instruct them to behave, DO care about policy.
Austin is also big into visual legal advocacy. Again, doesn’t seem that practical but based on some conversations with upperclassmen, settlement videos and incident re-enactments (I’m sure that there is a more technical term for this but WTVR) intended to be shown to juries are actually the next big thing in Torts litigation. Some of the wealthiest and most successful litigators in America are beginning to use them.
I also really liked the way that she combined a hard Socratic approach with the modern visual legal advocacy and the case study method, kinda the best of the old and the new. Besides, I didn’t come to law school for any bullshit “on call” days or 5 minute grillings. When Austin lays into you your palms will sweat, your heart rate will rise, you will want to crawl into a hole and die BUT afterwards you will REALLY understand what the fuck the case was all about.
Austin moves makes you do a shitton of reading and it can be unevenly distributed throughout the year so you need to watch out for that. However, she covers the readings selectively. For instance, she may spend a day on one case and a few minutes on another. I personally enjoyed attacking some material in greater depth than we did in other classes but this might be a matter of personal preference.
Austin is also extremely personable and accessible, she often responds to emails lightning quick and definitely takes the time during office hours to fully flesh out her explanations and is often willing to talk more BLL one-on-one. This is another professor, however, that doesn’t really seem to care what is in or embrace her casebook. For cases that are not extensively covered in class, any question that you ask might sail right past her until she has time to go through the book. Glannon’s E and E on torts is helpful for some of the BLL. Other than that, study guides are 100% worthless for this class. The name of the casebook is Tort Law AND ALTERNATIVES. Austin expects you to know all of the different major approaches taken by courts for any particular segment of Tort law and be able to make a compelling policy argument for each. Knowing the “Majority” rule is just the beginning and it may confuse you to see such rules placed outside of the context of competing approaches as they are in most study guides.
Austin does tend to emphasize interactions between race and the law a bit excessively. For instance (if I understand her correctly) she believes that products liability has not been fully extended to marshmallow manufacturers in “Chubby Bunny” deaths since the game is mostly played by African Americans. However, I’ve asked around about this and most of the kids that I’ve met who’ve played the game are as white as can be. While this is hardly scientific, it does lead me to believe that she is inclined to view the legal system as hostile to minority interests even in cases where there are other, more plausible explanations for a legal scheme.
Oh BTW, something I wished that I had known at the beginning of the year is that Austin is big into trying to use Tort law as a remedy to school and workplace bullying. She published an article in the Stanford Law Review about it, it might be worth a Google before the first day of class if she is your professor.
Austin was certainly one of my favorite professors but some other people tend to not like her class all that much. Your feeling about her approach will come down to personal preference to a much greater extent than with other professors.

Madison – Contracts
Madison has an extreme emphasis on BLL (but does throw a policy question onto the exam – BEWARE [the policy question, however, does tend to be about something both discussed in class and for which we have received a reading or two]). This class can be a bit dry at times however, Madison does a much better job of selecting on-point readings than many other professors. As a consequence, her reading load tends to be one of the lightest yet one of the most useful for comprehending the law. The material taught in lecture meshes quite well with the assigned reading which I REALLY appreciated. She also posts slides with many (BUT NOT ALL, found this out the hard way while outlining) of the key points and holdings from the readings. Uses a panel on-call system. Again, not a class where study guides are that useful as they often state different law than what is taught and/or call concepts by different names. However, Madison is way into the classic Ks hornbooks. For example, she cites to Farnsworth for much of her policy and legal analysis. Also, Madison re-uses very similar fact patterns on exams. She has released a ton of model answers. I think that you could construct an outline just based on these.

Struve – Civ Pro
HUG summa, HLS magna, former CSM associate, writer of some of the federal rules of civil procedure. As a petite brunette with EPIC intelligence Struve is definitely every law nerds’ secret crush. She cold calls people… by name… in a section of 90 kids… on the first day of class.
However, Struve’s test is the hardest one you will take – after dealing with it you may see her more as a siren beckoning you with intricate lectures delivered straight from memory during the semester and then crushing you like a bug on the final. It was the only test I took where I ran into questions that I just didn’t know how to go about answering. I think that part of the difficulty lies in the fact that Struve does not give a “pure” issue spotter but rather expects you to use issue spotting skills to answer specific questions. Therefore, even if you can spot and analyze 9/10 issues, if the question has to do entirely with the 1/10 of issues that you suck at, you’re fucked. Also, Struve makes most of the test deal with one fact pattern but divides the fact pattern among several pages and intersperses questions among them meaning that if your spatial reasoning skills are terrible (as mine are), you may have difficulties on the exam completely unrelated to your grasp of the law.
Obviously, since Struve has a hand in writing the FRCP the rules play a MAJOR role in the class. Memorize the important ones if you can - particularly R 12 and R 4k (I really didn’t do this much and I regret it). Conversely, rely more on the casebook to tell you what the rules actually mean rather than trying to puzzle them out on your own.
Struve puts down some marathon office hours. You will be taking advantage of these. If you ask her a question during office hours, be prepared for a long and detailed explanation – computer highly recommended.
I didn’t really like that the class was more about the rules than the common law (you can see from this list that I’m writing that the first two professors teach majority common law subjects and the last two teach subjects that integrate codes, restatements, rules, UCC, etc. to a much greater extent. I really liked the pure common law classes much better - much more creativity was called for, more cases with more interesting stories to read, etc. However it’s not as if a professor can really do much about the orientation of her subject). The Glannon E & E is extremely helpful for this class except when it comes to jurisdiction, which seems to be covered to a much greater extent in class than in the E&E. Other study guides were worthless, or worse yet, wrong and misleading. I was 24 hours away from making an epic mistake on the exam RE the Erie question before I realized that one of the flowcharts in Crunchtime was full of shit. One thing that I did really like a bout Civ-Pro though was putting disparate parts of the subject all together in the last month or two of classes, its quite a rush.

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Cavalier
Posts: 1994
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Re: An off the record look at Penn 1st Year Professors

Postby Cavalier » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Mods: Posted in employment so that anon may be used, feel free to move it or merge with Penn Law CO 2014 thread if you can keep anon in place.

To those who read this: I would ask you not to quote.

I thought that incoming students might appreciate one person's "outside of the bio" impressions of a few professors who teach mandatory 1st year courses (even though you don't yet know who you will have).

Parchamovsky - Property

Generally considered to be one of the 1Ls "favorite" professors, manages to run his 9AM class like a comedy hour - even manages to make zoning hilarious. Penn is well known for having one of the strongest property law faculties in the country due to cross-pollination w Wharton's #1 real estate program. Although Parchamovsky is Law school only to the best of my knowledge, the emphasis on the discipline really shows. Fairly reliable rumor has it that Penn flies him from Israel to Philadelphia every week to teach the 1st year property class. We calculated this to cost the school about 30K a year. Unlike a shit ton of other things the school spends $ on, this is tuition dollars well spent. The one thing that you need to beware of with Parchamovsky, however, is that he essentially delivers the outline that he wants you to use on the exam in his lectures. Often, this doesn't correspond all that well with what is in the book (e.g. a majority rule according to the book will be a minority rule according to Parchamovsky etc.). In addition, even the lecture notes don't correspond 100% to the released model answers yet you can't supplement your notes with the model answers because he only releases like 2 or 3 of them. There is also very little overlap with any published study guide that I've been able to find. The tests in the E&E for instance are way off base from what he wants you to use. Extremely accessible during office hours. Reading loads are INSANE.

Austin - Torts
I think professor Austin gets an unjustifiably bad rap. I think that people make the mistake of assuming that since she emphasizes policy much more heavily than any other professor that he class is somehow less practical than the profs who teach “BLL”. In point of fact, I think the opposite is true. Austin jokes about her class preparing students to at least work for an insurance defense firm while knowing full well that most kids are gunning for BIGLAW. However, Torts cases, whether at the micro or macro level are susceptible to policy spins for one reason – a case will either be decided by a jury or settlement will occur based on what a the parties predict that a jury will do. Juries, in-spite of how the judge may instruct them to behave, DO care about policy.
Austin is also big into visual legal advocacy. Again, doesn’t seem that practical but based on some conversations with upperclassmen, settlement videos and incident re-enactments (I’m sure that there is a more technical term for this but WTVR) intended to be shown to juries are actually the next big thing in Torts litigation. Some of the wealthiest and most successful litigators in America are beginning to use them.
I also really liked the way that she combined a hard Socratic approach with the modern visual legal advocacy and the case study method, kinda the best of the old and the new. Besides, I didn’t come to law school for any bullshit “on call” days or 5 minute grillings. When Austin lays into you your palms will sweat, your heart rate will rise, you will want to crawl into a hole and die BUT afterwards you will REALLY understand what the fuck the case was all about.
Austin moves makes you do a shitton of reading and it can be unevenly distributed throughout the year so you need to watch out for that. However, she covers the readings selectively. For instance, she may spend a day on one case and a few minutes on another. I personally enjoyed attacking some material in greater depth than we did in other classes but this might be a matter of personal preference.
Austin is also extremely personable and accessible, she often responds to emails lightning quick and definitely takes the time during office hours to fully flesh out her explanations and is often willing to talk more BLL one-on-one. This is another professor, however, that doesn’t really seem to care what is in or embrace her casebook. For cases that are not extensively covered in class, any question that you ask might sail right past her until she has time to go through the book. Glannon’s E and E on torts is helpful for some of the BLL. Other than that, study guides are 100% worthless for this class. The name of the casebook is Tort Law AND ALTERNATIVES. Austin expects you to know all of the different major approaches taken by courts for any particular segment of Tort law and be able to make a compelling policy argument for each. Knowing the “Majority” rule is just the beginning and it may confuse you to see such rules placed outside of the context of competing approaches as they are in most study guides.
Austin does tend to emphasize interactions between race and the law a bit excessively. For instance (if I understand her correctly) she believes that products liability has not been fully extended to marshmallow manufacturers in “Chubby Bunny” deaths since the game is mostly played by African Americans. However, I’ve asked around about this and most of the kids that I’ve met who’ve played the game are as white as can be. While this is hardly scientific, it does lead me to believe that she is inclined to view the legal system as hostile to minority interests even in cases where there are other, more plausible explanations for a legal scheme.
Oh BTW, something I wished that I had known at the beginning of the year is that Austin is big into trying to use Tort law as a remedy to school and workplace bullying. She published an article in the Stanford Law Review about it, it might be worth a Google before the first day of class if she is your professor.
Austin was certainly one of my favorite professors but some other people tend to not like her class all that much. Your feeling about her approach will come down to personal preference to a much greater extent than with other professors.

Madison – Contracts
Madison has an extreme emphasis on BLL (but does throw a policy question onto the exam – BEWARE [the policy question, however, does tend to be about something both discussed in class and for which we have received a reading or two]). This class can be a bit dry at times however, Madison does a much better job of selecting on-point readings than many other professors. As a consequence, her reading load tends to be one of the lightest yet one of the most useful for comprehending the law. The material taught in lecture meshes quite well with the assigned reading which I REALLY appreciated. She also posts slides with many (BUT NOT ALL, found this out the hard way while outlining) of the key points and holdings from the readings. Uses a panel on-call system. Again, not a class where study guides are that useful as they often state different law than what is taught and/or call concepts by different names. However, Madison is way into the classic Ks hornbooks. For example, she cites to Farnsworth for much of her policy and legal analysis. Also, Madison re-uses very similar fact patterns on exams. She has released a ton of model answers. I think that you could construct an outline just based on these.

Struve – Civ Pro
HUG summa, HLS magna, former CSM associate, writer of some of the federal rules of civil procedure. As a petite brunette with EPIC intelligence Struve is definitely every law nerds’ secret crush. She cold calls people… by name… in a section of 90 kids… on the first day of class.
However, Struve’s test is the hardest one you will take – after dealing with it you may see her more as a siren beckoning you with intricate lectures delivered straight from memory during the semester and then crushing you like a bug on the final. It was the only test I took where I ran into questions that I just didn’t know how to go about answering. I think that part of the difficulty lies in the fact that Struve does not give a “pure” issue spotter but rather expects you to use issue spotting skills to answer specific questions. Therefore, even if you can spot and analyze 9/10 issues, if the question has to do entirely with the 1/10 of issues that you suck at, you’re fucked. Also, Struve makes most of the test deal with one fact pattern but divides the fact pattern among several pages and intersperses questions among them meaning that if your spatial reasoning skills are terrible (as mine are), you may have difficulties on the exam completely unrelated to your grasp of the law.
Obviously, since Struve has a hand in writing the FRCP the rules play a MAJOR role in the class. Memorize the important ones if you can - particularly R 12 and R 4k (I really didn’t do this much and I regret it). Conversely, rely more on the casebook to tell you what the rules actually mean rather than trying to puzzle them out on your own.
Struve puts down some marathon office hours. You will be taking advantage of these. If you ask her a question during office hours, be prepared for a long and detailed explanation – computer highly recommended.
I didn’t really like that the class was more about the rules than the common law (you can see from this list that I’m writing that the first two professors teach majority common law subjects and the last two teach subjects that integrate codes, restatements, rules, UCC, etc. to a much greater extent. I really liked the pure common law classes much better - much more creativity was called for, more cases with more interesting stories to read, etc. However it’s not as if a professor can really do much about the orientation of her subject). The Glannon E & E is extremely helpful for this class except when it comes to jurisdiction, which seems to be covered to a much greater extent in class than in the E&E. Other study guides were worthless, or worse yet, wrong and misleading. I was 24 hours away from making an epic mistake on the exam RE the Erie question before I realized that one of the flowcharts in Crunchtime was full of shit. One thing that I did really like a bout Civ-Pro though was putting disparate parts of the subject all together in the last month or two of classes, its quite a rush.

Wrong forum.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: An off the record look at Penn 1st Year Professors

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:50 pm

^ 1) read the top 2) Mods, can you please remove the quote.

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vanwinkle
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Re: An off the record look at Penn 1st Year Professors

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:52 pm

No.




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