1L summer at a small practice - How do I learn this stuff?

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1L summer at a small practice - How do I learn this stuff?

Postby lawstudento » Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:09 pm

I'm going to summer at a small litigation practice and have done well in classes, but as I'm being exposed to the correspondance and motions with the court I realize there is a lot I don't know about procedure. My civil procedure is a half year course and is federal rules, but this will be state court. I'm looking things up as they come along, but I haven't found a great resource for an overview or practical guide.

I know I won't know or understand it all right away, and it'll take time, but I'd really like to speed up the learning curve to get the most out of the summer position.

What resources are out there?

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Re: 1L summer at a small practice - How do I learn this stuff?

Postby 98234872348 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:13 pm

Last edited by 98234872348 on Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1L summer at a small practice - How do I learn this stuff?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:20 pm

I'll check out the practice guide and I will definitely read through state rules of civil procedure, but the rules themselves may not entirely make clear how everything fits together.

Thanks for the start!


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Re: 1L summer at a small practice - How do I learn this stuff?

Postby dark » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:15 pm

When you get an assignment to write a ____ (motion, memo, whatever), ask if you can see a previous one that was made up by the firm for a similar situation, or else look online and see if there is a form or other example. From looking at an example, and applying the facts or elements of your situation, you'll get the hang of it really quick. Sometimes a firm will have form docs made up already where you can just fill in the blanks with whatever the facts, pleadings, or demands are that are special to the case. After working there for 2-3 weeks you'll probably be pretty comfortable, but of course ask questions of the attorneys too.


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Re: 1L summer at a small practice - How do I learn this stuff?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:25 am

Even as a first year attorney, there is no shame in telling someone, upon receipt of an assignment that you've never done before, that you haven't done this before and would appreciate some examples. Attorneys know a 1L doesn't know squat about the actual practice of law, and training you is part of the deal.

You're a student - learn! You can't be faulted for not knowing whats going on yet. Thats why its called "practicing" law.

Law schools generally don't teach state civil procedure as they don't know where students will end up, but there is an order to it all.


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Re: 1L summer at a small practice - How do I learn this stuff?

Postby LjakW » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:13 pm

You should try looking at your state's Jurisprudence. It's on Lexis, is definitely at your school, and may be in the firm's library.


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Re: 1L summer at a small practice - How do I learn this stuff?

Postby blsingindisguise » Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:11 am

Practice guides and treatises for your state are good ideas, but the thing is there's going to be way more material in the rules than you would actually cover in a class and way more than you will actually use in a summer, and some of it will be obscure and minor. If your school offers a state civil practice class for your state, perhaps you can get a good outline from that course. Or perhaps you could use the practice guide but limit yourself to some bigger topics; off the top of my head, a few that would probably be useful to look at:

- Long-arm jurisdiction -- do you have a statute that goes to the limits of the constitution, or is it narrower, and if so, how?
- standards for motion to dismiss
- standards for summary judgment
- statutes of limitations, including any special rules that toll the SOL, rules for "borrowing" from other states if they exist, etc.
- special rules about choice-of-law and/or choice-of-forum clauses
- the structure of your state's court system (this isn't necessarily in your civil practice rules but is useful to know)
- discovery rules -- you may not be able to fully cover these, but it's worth perusing them, especially since you probably didn't encounter that sort of thing in civ pro

I would also find out if your state has any places beyond the civil practice rules where civil practice rules are contained -- in NY for example some of the rules affecting suits against government bodies are not in the NYCP, which is annoying.

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