LRW open memo help

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Peg
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LRW open memo help

Postby Peg » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:41 pm

Sorry if this has been posted a bazillion times already, I scrolled down four pages and decided I didn't have the time/energy to keep searching for a memo thread that's relevant.

My open memo is coming up next week and my professor seems to have told me just what he wants, but I've spent the evening working on this and only have like four lines down. It's because even with the sample memo he gave me (which was actually for a MUCH simpler closed memo), I just feel like I don't know how to write/organize for this specific topic.

Questions:

- Is it true that your LRW grade is more based on your Bluebooking skills and sentence structure than on actual legal analysis? I spoke to a 3L who got the top grade with my LRW prof and he said he just did exactly the edits he was told to do and got an A. So am I wasting my time with breaking my head over the legal analysis? Unfortunately, my prof declined to give me a specific answer when I asked him this question in what I thought was a clever way.

- Please just give me a quick list of all the things you did in your memo (the way you defined the rule, the way you did case comparisons, etc) that got you an A.

- I hated graded LRW. My school has such primitive ideas.


Thanks all.

random5483
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby random5483 » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:20 pm

Memos get graded on subjective and objective components. Bluebooking and grammar are objective. You should have perfect or near perfect bluebooking and grammar. Anything less and your professor will have an objective metric to dock points.

Your legal arguments are more subjective. Yes, they have objective components, but each professor is looking for something different. To get an A, you need few or no bluebooking/grammar mistakes and you need to figure out what your professor wants. My professor was a fan of comparative language in the analysis. Thus, I filled my analysis section with a lot of comparative language.


Basically, make sure your bluebooking and grammar is perfect or at least near perfect. In addition, find out what your professor likes (talk to him/her during office hours and pay attention to any hints they drop in class) and customize your paper for your professor. I did both and it helped me book both semesters of my LRW class.

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SilverE2
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby SilverE2 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:52 am

random5483 wrote:Memos get graded on subjective and objective components. Bluebooking and grammar are objective. You should have perfect or near perfect bluebooking and grammar. Anything less and your professor will have an objective metric to dock points.

Your legal arguments are more subjective. Yes, they have objective components, but each professor is looking for something different. To get an A, you need few or no bluebooking/grammar mistakes and you need to figure out what your professor wants. My professor was a fan of comparative language in the analysis. Thus, I filled my analysis section with a lot of comparative language.


Basically, make sure your bluebooking and grammar is perfect or at least near perfect. In addition, find out what your professor likes (talk to him/her during office hours and pay attention to any hints they drop in class) and customize your paper for your professor. I did both and it helped me book both semesters of my LRW class.


This is extremely helpful. I got a below median grade on my first legal writing memo, and though I fucked up my structure, my legal arguments were pretty decent. I didn't think the paper was deserving of the grade I got. Looking at the rubric now I realize that EVERY POINT is given based on structure, no points are given based on strength of argument or anything like that. This changes the class completely for me.

071816
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby 071816 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:58 am

SilverE2 wrote:
random5483 wrote:Memos get graded on subjective and objective components. Bluebooking and grammar are objective. You should have perfect or near perfect bluebooking and grammar. Anything less and your professor will have an objective metric to dock points.

Your legal arguments are more subjective. Yes, they have objective components, but each professor is looking for something different. To get an A, you need few or no bluebooking/grammar mistakes and you need to figure out what your professor wants. My professor was a fan of comparative language in the analysis. Thus, I filled my analysis section with a lot of comparative language.


Basically, make sure your bluebooking and grammar is perfect or at least near perfect. In addition, find out what your professor likes (talk to him/her during office hours and pay attention to any hints they drop in class) and customize your paper for your professor. I did both and it helped me book both semesters of my LRW class.


This is extremely helpful. I got a below median grade on my first legal writing memo, and though I fucked up my structure, my legal arguments were pretty decent. I didn't think the paper was deserving of the grade I got. Looking at the rubric now I realize that EVERY POINT is given based on structure, no points are given based on strength of argument or anything like that. This changes the class completely for me.


That makes zero sense.

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SilverE2
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby SilverE2 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:01 am

chimp wrote:
SilverE2 wrote:
random5483 wrote:Memos get graded on subjective and objective components. Bluebooking and grammar are objective. You should have perfect or near perfect bluebooking and grammar. Anything less and your professor will have an objective metric to dock points.

Your legal arguments are more subjective. Yes, they have objective components, but each professor is looking for something different. To get an A, you need few or no bluebooking/grammar mistakes and you need to figure out what your professor wants. My professor was a fan of comparative language in the analysis. Thus, I filled my analysis section with a lot of comparative language.


Basically, make sure your bluebooking and grammar is perfect or at least near perfect. In addition, find out what your professor likes (talk to him/her during office hours and pay attention to any hints they drop in class) and customize your paper for your professor. I did both and it helped me book both semesters of my LRW class.


This is extremely helpful. I got a below median grade on my first legal writing memo, and though I fucked up my structure, my legal arguments were pretty decent. I didn't think the paper was deserving of the grade I got. Looking at the rubric now I realize that EVERY POINT is given based on structure, no points are given based on strength of argument or anything like that. This changes the class completely for me.


That makes zero sense.


What doesn't make sense? The professor has a checklist. If you did something on that list she gives you a check. She tallies your points. She gives you a number score. Then you're graded on your number score based on the scores of the other people in your class. All of the items on the checklist had to do with structure.

random5483
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby random5483 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:11 am

SilverE2 wrote:
chimp wrote:
SilverE2 wrote:
random5483 wrote:Memos get graded on subjective and objective components. Bluebooking and grammar are objective. You should have perfect or near perfect bluebooking and grammar. Anything less and your professor will have an objective metric to dock points.

Your legal arguments are more subjective. Yes, they have objective components, but each professor is looking for something different. To get an A, you need few or no bluebooking/grammar mistakes and you need to figure out what your professor wants. My professor was a fan of comparative language in the analysis. Thus, I filled my analysis section with a lot of comparative language.


Basically, make sure your bluebooking and grammar is perfect or at least near perfect. In addition, find out what your professor likes (talk to him/her during office hours and pay attention to any hints they drop in class) and customize your paper for your professor. I did both and it helped me book both semesters of my LRW class.


This is extremely helpful. I got a below median grade on my first legal writing memo, and though I fucked up my structure, my legal arguments were pretty decent. I didn't think the paper was deserving of the grade I got. Looking at the rubric now I realize that EVERY POINT is given based on structure, no points are given based on strength of argument or anything like that. This changes the class completely for me.


That makes zero sense.


What doesn't make sense? The professor has a checklist. If you did something on that list she gives you a check. She tallies your points. She gives you a number score. Then you're graded on your number score based on the scores of the other people in your class. All of the items on the checklist had to do with structure.




The grading is going to vary from professor to professor. Most decent papers will have good arguments. Without a good argument, your grade will suck. With a good argument and perfect grammar/bluebooking, your grade should be decent. With a customized paper (i.e. arguments/style customized to your professor) and perfect grammar/bluebooking, your grade should get better.


Every professor will dock you points for bluebooking/grammar issues, especially if the problems are not isolated. Grading the substance of your arguments is more subjective. This subjective component will help raise your grade, but to get it right, you have to first figure out what your professor wants.

071816
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby 071816 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:16 am

So you're saying that all your arguments could be complete garbage and, as long as your structure is correct, you can get an A? That's what didn't make sense to me. Maybe I just don't know what you mean by structure, but I feel like coherence and quality of argument should be the most important parts of a memo. You would think that everyone would get the structure right.

random5483
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby random5483 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:31 am

chimp wrote:So you're saying that all your arguments could be complete garbage and, as long as your structure is correct, you can get an A? That's what didn't make sense to me. Maybe I just don't know what you mean by structure, but I feel like coherence and quality of argument should be the most important parts of a memo. You would think that everyone would get the structure right.



I never said that (if you were referring to my post). I merely stated that the objective component is the easiest area to lose points. The arguments must be tailored to your professor. Many students will have solid arguments in 1L memos. I mean how hard is it to do some research and form a decent argument? You have to differentiate you paper by writing the way your professor likes (for mine it required the use of a lot of comparative language).

Bluebooking/grammatical/structural errors are the easiest way to lose points. In my first semester memo, I had two errors caught by my professor. Some students had as many as twenty or more. A lot of silly bluebooking or grammatical errors will result in a loss of points. Moreover, in both my 1L graded memos, I crafted my arguments the way my professor wanted. I even stole some of the language she liked to use by looking up her published articles.

I don't think my legal arguments resulted in my A grade. A friend of mine got a B+ with near identical arguments. If anything, his were slightly better than mine. I got an A+ on the memo because I had fewer errors, I used comparative language, and I wrote the way my professor did in her published works (writing style NOT structure).

071816
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby 071816 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:34 am

I was referring to Silver's post.

zomginternets
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby zomginternets » Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:39 am

Peg wrote:[do] exactly the edits [you are] told to do


write exactly how the prof tells you to write, use exactly the arguments that you guys come up with in class discussion. Don't waste time trying to come up with subtle distinctions not discussed in class unless you have OK'd them with your prof before writing about them. Make sure bluebook and grammar/spelling are up to par. Like with your other classes, your prof is God.

Peg
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby Peg » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:37 pm

Thanks so much for your feedback, everyone. Sorry I didn't reply to this thread earlier, I was trapped in memo-land. But I did read everything you wrote and, after talking to a section-mate who did really well in the practice memo, her advice seems to match yours a lot.

I'm in the last legs of this and I think I can finally see how it's all coming to together. I spent the last five days re-reading the cases and notes and barely getting any words on paper, but finally this weekend I just hammered it out as methodically/logically as I could and blindly copied my professor's analysis from my notes.

The language is extremely repetitive though. If I have to say "Therefore" one more time I think I will die.

And when I'm a lawyer, I'm going to make my secretary do all the Bluebooking for me. Ugh.

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jessuf
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby jessuf » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:03 pm

My professor gave me a rubric that says that my discussion section is worth 40% of my grade, but citations are only worth 10%. I guess it really depends on the professor. You'd think it would be more important to analyze a case than to cite it correctly.

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northwood
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Re: LRW open memo help

Postby northwood » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:05 pm

talk to your professor.... dont rely on the TA's.... go see the professor




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