My 1L impressions several weeks in:

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kswiss
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My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby kswiss » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:34 pm

1. Everyone is really nice. Outwardly. Law school attracts type As in droves, so there is a slight aroma of asshole barely under the surface of a significant amount of class. But it is very bearable, and even pleasant. (I probably have the same aroma.)

2. Almost everyone uses supplements, old outlines, gets canned briefs from westlaw/lexisnexis, etc, along with reading for the class. Before 1L, I was somewhat obsessed about having the correct materials (supplements, GTM, LEEWS, etc) to do well. Turns out that the playing field is relatively even on that point. Finding a killer supplement won't give you an edge, it's other stuff.

3. Everyone, including professors, is obsessed with facts. I have a theory that the professors purposefully talk so much about facts because a) it takes up class time and makes the cases more personal and b) it makes students cloud their minds with facts and obscures testable law, which should make grading tests easier. (I'll admit that (b) is a sinister way of looking at things.)

4. All of that said, I feel like many of my classmates, even though availed with all of the supplements, etc, are getting the wrong idea from the cases. They are all smart/studious, but I hear them in the halls hashing out facts that have little bearing on testable laws.

5. All of that said (again), I find that the facts are important to me, because it gives good examples of application of law to facts. This is of limited utility, but I feel like the professors might pull a fact pattern similar to a case we read, and knowing how the court applied the law to those facts could be of some use.

6. I'm only several weeks in, so I might be completely in the dark. I have a mid term in 2 weeks, so I'll be able to see how off base I am.

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romothesavior
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby romothesavior » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:37 pm

MY 1L impression two weeks in:

We're all on our way to being un/under-employed.

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vanwinkle
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:42 pm

kswiss wrote:3. Everyone, including professors, is obsessed with facts. I have a theory that the professors purposefully talk so much about facts because a) it takes up class time and makes the cases more personal and b) it makes students cloud their minds with facts and obscures testable law, which should make grading tests easier. (I'll admit that (b) is a sinister way of looking at things.)

No, it's actually because of this:

kswiss wrote:5. All of that said (again), I find that the facts are important to me, because it gives good examples of application of law to facts. This is of limited utility, but I feel like the professors might pull a fact pattern similar to a case we read, and knowing how the court applied the law to those facts could be of some use.

Applying law to facts is all that matters. It's not limited utility at all; it's quite the opposite, in fact. You need to know how to apply the law to different sets of facts, because on exam day, that's all you're going to do that will affect your grade.

You can't just "learn the law" because the law applies differently to different facts (and different facts will tell you that a different law may apply). What you're doing is learning how to apply law to facts, so pay attention to each set of facts and how the law works with them. That'll teach you most of what you need to do well on exam day.

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OGR3
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby OGR3 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:49 pm

kswiss wrote:4. All of that said, I feel like many of my classmates, even though availed with all of the supplements, etc, are getting the wrong idea from the cases. They are all smart/studious, but I hear them in the halls hashing out facts that have little bearing on testable laws.


+1

I'm surprised so many people are lost and/or falling behind in reading. We're on our third week and some people are already getting pretty stressed out.

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kswiss
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby kswiss » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:40 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
kswiss wrote:3. Everyone, including professors, is obsessed with facts. I have a theory that the professors purposefully talk so much about facts because a) it takes up class time and makes the cases more personal and b) it makes students cloud their minds with facts and obscures testable law, which should make grading tests easier. (I'll admit that (b) is a sinister way of looking at things.)

No, it's actually because of this:

kswiss wrote:5. All of that said (again), I find that the facts are important to me, because it gives good examples of application of law to facts. This is of limited utility, but I feel like the professors might pull a fact pattern similar to a case we read, and knowing how the court applied the law to those facts could be of some use.

Applying law to facts is all that matters. It's not limited utility at all; it's quite the opposite, in fact. You need to know how to apply the law to different sets of facts, because on exam day, that's all you're going to do that will affect your grade.

You can't just "learn the law" because the law applies differently to different facts (and different facts will tell you that a different law may apply). What you're doing is learning how to apply law to facts, so pay attention to each set of facts and how the law works with them. That'll teach you most of what you need to do well on exam day.


I agree...which is why I said the second thing about facts. I find that my classmates get very interested in the wrong kinds of facts, at least thats how it seems from my limited understanding. One of my classmates memorizes all of the dates that certain things took place in. This makes sense for figuring out a timeline of a case or something, but most of the time its pretty immaterial to the point of law.

I put that facts thing in there because after reading some of the advice on TLS, you get the impression that you should read straight from supplements. I feel that, at least at this point, that would be a bad idea. I usually read the cases, write a paragraph synopsis in my own words as to the apparent rule I'm supposed to glean + the relevant facts to the rule. Then I check it against the canned brief/supplements/notes after case in casebook/ etc. I do agree that formalized briefing is a waste of time after the first couple of weeks. But engaging the cases, at least for me, seems to be very important right now.

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goosey
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby goosey » Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:25 pm

Im worried Im not doing it right..I brief, but its not time consuming so not sure what everyone is talking about as far as it being a waste of time. Basically, I read the case and take notes on post-its--very basic idea of the facts: what happened, procedural history of the case, the holding/rationale and *sometimes* the dissent if I feel like it will provide good discussion for an exam if I face something similar. Then I type it into one note so I can add class notes next to it. It takes about 2 minutes longer than reading the case does. What exactly is everyone doing that makes briefing such a waste of time?

Also, I want to know how people take out rules from cases :( When we are doing assault, for example, I basically just have the main definition of assault from the restatement and then as we go through cases I add exceptions and extrapolate on the meanings of certain words in the definition according to what our professor says in class which is usually pretty obvious from the case.

It doesnt seem like something people can do wrong, which is why I am led to believe *I* am doing something wrong..??

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worldtraveler
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:01 pm

OGR3 wrote:
kswiss wrote:4. All of that said, I feel like many of my classmates, even though availed with all of the supplements, etc, are getting the wrong idea from the cases. They are all smart/studious, but I hear them in the halls hashing out facts that have little bearing on testable laws.


+1

I'm surprised so many people are lost and/or falling behind in reading. We're on our third week and some people are already getting pretty stressed out.


Just because somebody seems behind or lost, it doesn't mean that they are. Some people also never do any reading and get awesome grades. Really, just stop worrying about what other people are doing or not doing. Don't let it give you a false sense of security or make you worried.

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savagedm
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby savagedm » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:29 pm

worldtraveler wrote:
OGR3 wrote:
kswiss wrote:4. All of that said, I feel like many of my classmates, even though availed with all of the supplements, etc, are getting the wrong idea from the cases. They are all smart/studious, but I hear them in the halls hashing out facts that have little bearing on testable laws.


+1

I'm surprised so many people are lost and/or falling behind in reading. We're on our third week and some people are already getting pretty stressed out.


Just because somebody seems behind or lost, it doesn't mean that they are. Some people also never do any reading and get awesome grades. Really, just stop worrying about what other people are doing or not doing. Don't let it give you a false sense of security or make you worried.


I had a buddy who had absolutely NO idea what to expect from law school (came in tabula rasa style) and I helped during our summer crim law early start by showing him arrow's guide. He still almost refused to read almost everything assigned. Come test time, everyone thought he'd fail.... he ended up with the 5th highest grade in the class. (The top 4 were people who read GTM several times and had about a decade of experience in the legal field already as paralegals/aids)

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GeePee
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby GeePee » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:51 pm

I'm finding that looking at some past exams is really focusing me (hopefully in the right direction) in terms of what I should be working toward and learning. Obviously, most of the fact pattern was still neither here nor there to me, but at least I was thinking about what law I would have to identify and how I would apply the bits of the law that I had been exposed to in the first couple weeks.

Also, I'm at HLS and students on a panel for 1L academic success today said that they started seriously outlining and studying 1-2 weeks before exams. That can't be right, can it?

EDIT: Also, I kind of enjoy bluebook quizzes.

BCLS
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby BCLS » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:58 pm

GeePee wrote:I'm finding that looking at some past exams is really focusing me (hopefully in the right direction) in terms of what I should be working toward and learning. Obviously, most of the fact pattern was still neither here nor there to me, but at least I was thinking about what law I would have to identify and how I would apply the bits of the law that I had been exposed to in the first couple weeks.

Also, I'm at HLS and students on a panel for 1L academic success today said that they started seriously outlining and studying 1-2 weeks before exams. That can't be right, can it?

EDIT: Also, I kind of enjoy bluebook quizzes.

I've already begun outlining lol. It helps me focus and condense the material into understandable bites.

- your friend across the charles :) (newton bound haha)

theantiscalia
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby theantiscalia » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:04 pm

romothesavior wrote:MY 1L impression two weeks in:

We're all on our way to being un/under-employed.


What makes you say that? Most of the 2Ls and 3Ls I've talked to either have jobs or have several interviews.

I'm not nearly as stressed out as my classmates... and that is stressing me out. The class seems evenly divided between (a) kids that don't do the readings for class and completely miss the point when they talk in class and (b) kids that are extraordinarily well prepared. The latter category seems to be putting in a lot more work than me, and I'm not sure WHAT they're reading. I spend four hours a day in class, four hours doing class readings and outlining, and two or three hours reading supplements and preparing for the exam. I think there are some kids that are doing FAR more than that...

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spanktheduck
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby spanktheduck » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:11 pm

theantiscalia wrote:
romothesavior wrote:MY 1L impression two weeks in:

We're all on our way to being un/under-employed.


What makes you say that? Most of the 2Ls and 3Ls I've talked to either have jobs or have several interviews.



Unless you go to a T6, they are lying

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romothesavior
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby romothesavior » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:19 pm

spanktheduck wrote:
theantiscalia wrote:
romothesavior wrote:MY 1L impression two weeks in:

We're all on our way to being un/under-employed.


What makes you say that? Most of the 2Ls and 3Ls I've talked to either have jobs or have several interviews.



Unless you go to a T6, they are lying


The truth lies somewhere in between this. OCI is not the only means of achieving meaningful legal employment. I was being half-sarcastic with my initial response.

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kalvano
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby kalvano » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:13 pm

goosey wrote:Im worried Im not doing it right..I brief, but its not time consuming so not sure what everyone is talking about as far as it being a waste of time. Basically, I read the case and take notes on post-its--very basic idea of the facts: what happened, procedural history of the case, the holding/rationale and *sometimes* the dissent if I feel like it will provide good discussion for an exam if I face something similar. Then I type it into one note so I can add class notes next to it. It takes about 2 minutes longer than reading the case does. What exactly is everyone doing that makes briefing such a waste of time?

Also, I want to know how people take out rules from cases :( When we are doing assault, for example, I basically just have the main definition of assault from the restatement and then as we go through cases I add exceptions and extrapolate on the meanings of certain words in the definition according to what our professor says in class which is usually pretty obvious from the case.

It doesnt seem like something people can do wrong, which is why I am led to believe *I* am doing something wrong..??



I do quick briefs, too. Nothing in-depth, but enough to cover my ass if I get called on.

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kswiss
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby kswiss » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:16 pm

I have really good recall of written material, so I can usually read the case sometime before class and have a good grip on the relevant facts. I highlight and mark up my casebook as i go, and I feel like this covers me for cold calls somewhat.

Besides that, I try to distill the "point" of the case into a single sentence and add it into my notes. Not the law necessarily, but the reason that it was included in the course at this time. (ex. Pennoyer: foundation of PJ, territorial theory of PJ, no longer valid rule.)

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NU_Jet55
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby NU_Jet55 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:27 pm

romothesavior wrote:I was being half-sarcastic with my initial response.


I think I found the sarcastic half...

romothesavior wrote:We're all on our way to being un/under-employed.

Burger in a can
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby Burger in a can » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:32 pm

My impressions: I just read the casebooks and nothing really seems too confusing, and then the things that I didn't absorb get discussed in class. I bought a few supplements but haven't felt the need to open them yet. Am I doing something wrong?

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romothesavior
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby romothesavior » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:34 pm

Burger in a can wrote:My impressions: I just read the casebooks and nothing really seems too confusing, and then the things that I didn't absorb get discussed in class. I bought a few supplements but haven't felt the need to open them yet. Am I doing something wrong?


No. A lot of us are in this boat. But it is early, and keep in mind that most of us have only scratched the surface in our core classes. I think the supplements could help synthesize material once it starts piling on. At least that's kinda what I'm thinking.

Burger in a can
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby Burger in a can » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:40 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Burger in a can wrote:My impressions: I just read the casebooks and nothing really seems too confusing, and then the things that I didn't absorb get discussed in class. I bought a few supplements but haven't felt the need to open them yet. Am I doing something wrong?


No. A lot of us are in this boat. But it is early, and keep in mind that most of us have only scratched the surface in our core classes. I think the supplements could help synthesize material once it starts piling on. At least that's kinda what I'm thinking.


Yeah I am only halfway through week 2, so you're probably right. I just keep reading posts on TLS about supplements and outlining, and people are in study groups and I keep feeling like I'm completely missing something because the workload is large and challenging but not really confusing at all, yet. Maybe I just suck at preparation.

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romothesavior
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby romothesavior » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:46 pm

Burger in a can wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
Burger in a can wrote:My impressions: I just read the casebooks and nothing really seems too confusing, and then the things that I didn't absorb get discussed in class. I bought a few supplements but haven't felt the need to open them yet. Am I doing something wrong?


No. A lot of us are in this boat. But it is early, and keep in mind that most of us have only scratched the surface in our core classes. I think the supplements could help synthesize material once it starts piling on. At least that's kinda what I'm thinking.


Yeah I am only halfway through week 2, so you're probably right. I just keep reading posts on TLS about supplements and outlining, and people are in study groups and I keep feeling like I'm completely missing something because the workload is large and challenging but not really confusing at all, yet. Maybe I just suck at preparation.


Almost every 2L and 3L that I have talked to (who I trust) have said that:

1. Study groups are overrated. (Most of the TLS guides to success say the same thing.)
2. Class prep is overrated. (One guy said, "It isn't what you know when you walk into class on any given day. It is what you know when you walk out that is going to help you on the exam.")

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spanktheduck
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby spanktheduck » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:47 pm

If you are memorizing facts you are wasting time. Professors talk about facts in class for two reasons: (1) it kills a lot of class time and (2) they are applying the law to the facts, which is what matters. Very few professors will test you on individual cases you read during class. The only thing that matters is how the law is applied and the reasons why the law is as it is and why it was applied that way (policy). Every year 1ls waste a lot of time memorizing case names and case facts. It is a waste of time. The only thing you need to do to study for the standard final are hypos and practice tests. Only do things that help you with these.

Study groups tend to be overrated, there seems to be more talking and less studying. It does not matter what happens in class. Even if you look like an idiot, the professor won't remember you and your classmates understand.

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zeth006
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby zeth006 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:01 pm

spanktheduck wrote:Study groups tend to be overrated, there seems to be more talking and less studying. It does not matter what happens in class. Even if you look like an idiot, the professor won't remember you and your classmates understand.



Pros: You glean insights you may not have gained earlier--but only when the group you're with gets them.

Cons: Wastes time.


My personal lesson: Go with study groups for practicing tests, and trading outlines and tips. Study on your own or with a group that you know won't waste your time.

Burger in a can
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby Burger in a can » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:20 pm

I feel like I could get some help from a study group sometime after Thanksgiving, but at this point I feel like it would just be a waste of time- like we wouldn't really do anything now that would be in any way applicable to the exam.

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:22 pm

1. P/T students complaining about going to work and going to class are stupid.

2. Mixing in funny notes with your real class notes is a good way to stay entertained. My fav so far from my own collection is "I hate Kyle. Put your fuckin’ hand down Kyle, we’re sick of it." (I changed the person's name)

3. You can do as much or as little work as you want.

4. Legal Writing isn't as bad as everyone claims.

5. Legal Research (separate from my Legal Writing) is gawd-awful.

6. I'm exhausted at the end of the day.

7. My school loves free food and free booze.
Last edited by Kobe_Teeth on Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kalvano
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Re: My 1L impressions several weeks in:

Postby kalvano » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:23 pm

Burger in a can wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
Burger in a can wrote:My impressions: I just read the casebooks and nothing really seems too confusing, and then the things that I didn't absorb get discussed in class. I bought a few supplements but haven't felt the need to open them yet. Am I doing something wrong?


No. A lot of us are in this boat. But it is early, and keep in mind that most of us have only scratched the surface in our core classes. I think the supplements could help synthesize material once it starts piling on. At least that's kinda what I'm thinking.


Yeah I am only halfway through week 2, so you're probably right. I just keep reading posts on TLS about supplements and outlining, and people are in study groups and I keep feeling like I'm completely missing something because the workload is large and challenging but not really confusing at all, yet. Maybe I just suck at preparation.



You're not. The people who are trying to do all the supplement crap are just creating more work and headaches for themselves.




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