thickfreakness wrote:Reedie and cavebat (who both are section-mates from last year) have provided excellent advice. I think law school is very much about working reasonably hard and sticking to what makes your life enjoyable. If your surroundings and non-law-life is as comfortable and enjoyable as it can be, you're going to have a much happier three years. Trust me, you have much much more time in law school than you will in practice. I'm working at firms this summer and the workload is pretty heavy. I've loved all my projects so far and work with brilliant people, but they all work very hard. You should try to enjoy your time in law school.
As for more specific school advice: I did worse second semester than I did first semester, and really don't have a clue as to why. I'm eager to return in the fall and get some exam feedback. Anyway, here are a few general pointers (probably hit above already, but what the hell):
1) Read your assignments before class. Do not get behind on your reading. Law school classes will make even less sense if you don't read (unless you get everyone's favorite worst professor, in which case you're better off taking a hit of PCP before class and never even cracking the casebook...).
2) Go to class. Missing class is tough. Class is usually a great opportunity to learn how the professor views the law and familiarize yourself with the kinds of arguments and styles the professor enjoys. This is important for exam-taking. "Kinds of arguments" and "styles" is not code for "learn the professor's opinion so you can regurgitate it on every exam question." That will not get you anywhere.
3) If you're confused at all, go to office hours. Most professors are great about putting things in plain english during office hours. Go to office hours before you start cracking supplements or hornbooks. You're not as busy as you think you are during 1L: you should have time to attend office hours if you're confused in a class.
4) Supplements: I didn't use them at all. I think they're good if you have a bad teacher, but probably bad if you have a good teacher. If you do feel the need to use them, use them in conjunction with your casebook and class notes. They will illuminate things, but they also won't always agree with what your professor/casebook says. And--big shocker here--if you follow the supplement on an issue but the prof/casebook says otherwise, it's probably going to burn you on the exam.
5) Legal writing: pray for a good draw and follow step 3 religiously (I didn't and it probably cost me some GPA points). Also, start writing ASAP on each project. Legal writing is a very recursive process. I like to spend a bunch of time "figuring it out" before I sit down to write and that's just not a very efficient way to write about legal problems. As you write you figure out more possibilities and trails you need to track down. You need to get comfortable with the idea that you could write a page, paragraph, or more and then just highlight it all and delete it if you find the right case or statute. I figured this out mostly this summer at the firm where I've been cranking out memos dealing with much more complicated issues than anything I wrote about in LARW (except for our bat-shit insane appellate brief problem).
I think that's all I've got for now.
You sir, are spot on. Especially where you agreed with me and Reedie.