Too late to start outlining?

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Tanicius
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby Tanicius » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:38 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:
Tanicius wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
Cupidity wrote:It still might be too early


+1. Not on my radar until after T-giving.



When do you have finals? Just curious.


First week of December. Things like exam prep matter less when you're an employed 3L. :wink:


Haha. "What year are you?" was going to be my follow-up question.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:44 pm

sry. yeah, generally speaking, if you're a 1L, you want to outline as early as possible. I think, however, doing practice exams/problems is the best preparation.

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romothesavior
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby romothesavior » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:18 pm

Cupidity wrote:It still might be too early

Glad to hear someone else say this.

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johansantana21
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby johansantana21 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:33 pm

The "too early" comment gave me hope until I realized it came from a 2L

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romothesavior
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby romothesavior » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:06 pm

johansantana21 wrote:The "too early" comment gave me hope until I realized it came from a 2L

In all seriousness, you'll be fine if you just started. Some would say the earlier the better, but you sort of get diminishing returns if you start to outline really early (at least IMO). In fact, I think there is a too early, a too late, and a "juuuuust right" when it comes to 1L outlining. For me, outlining was the vast majority of the learning and studying process. It helped me to relearn all the early semester stuff, as well as start to see how everything fit together. I don't see how you can really get much benefit from it in September or even early October, but everyone learns differently.

If you learn like me, you have time to learn the material and still do well on the exams. Just go nose to the grindstone for the next month, and don't let anyone intimidate you by how long they've been outlining for or how hard they've been working. A good chunk of the hardest working people will end up below you on the curve.

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johansantana21
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby johansantana21 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:11 pm

romothesavior wrote:
johansantana21 wrote:The "too early" comment gave me hope until I realized it came from a 2L

In all seriousness, you'll be fine if you just started. Some would say the earlier the better, but you sort of get diminishing returns if you start to outline really early (at least IMO). In fact, I think there is a too early, a too late, and a "juuuuust right" when it comes to 1L outlining. For me, outlining was the vast majority of the learning and studying process. It helped me to relearn all the early semester stuff, as well as start to see how everything fit together. I don't see how you can really get much benefit from it in September or even early October, but everyone learns differently.

If you learn like me, you have time to learn the material and still do well on the exams. Just go nose to the grindstone for the next month, and don't let anyone intimidate you by how long they've been outlining for or how hard they've been working. A good chunk of the hardest working people will end up below you on the curve.


Thanks! Been working hard the last few days on beginning my outlines (still not really far in though).

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JCougar
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby JCougar » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:17 pm

romothesavior wrote:
johansantana21 wrote:The "too early" comment gave me hope until I realized it came from a 2L

In all seriousness, you'll be fine if you just started. Some would say the earlier the better, but you sort of get diminishing returns if you start to outline really early (at least IMO). In fact, I think there is a too early, a too late, and a "juuuuust right" when it comes to 1L outlining. For me, outlining was the vast majority of the learning and studying process. It helped me to relearn all the early semester stuff, as well as start to see how everything fit together. I don't see how you can really get much benefit from it in September or even early October, but everyone learns differently.

If you learn like me, you have time to learn the material and still do well on the exams. Just go nose to the grindstone for the next month, and don't let anyone intimidate you by how long they've been outlining for or how hard they've been working. A good chunk of the hardest working people will end up below you on the curve.


This. The real challenge in law school is not learning and applying the doctrine. If you keep up with the reading, you only need about one weekend per course to outline it and maybe read some supplements. Then just go over it with some practice tests in the study days before the exam.

The real challenge is figuring out what type of response gets you the most points on the exam. Because most of your class is going to figure out the doctrine and how to apply it come exam time. Studying your outline once you already know it simply isn't going to produce better results. There's a minimum threshold of going over the doctrine you have to do, and if you do it, your next concern should be figuring out law school exam response.

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goosey
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby goosey » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:31 am

I dont think its too late to outline..I almost just started myself. if you turn your internet and phone off, and literally just SIT there and outline for 8 hours, you will be shocked how much you get done

advice: I used to split my days up between classes during 1L...so I would work on my civ pro outline on wednesdays, crim on thursdays, etc etc..and I have found that its much more efficient to just work on a single class continuously until you get to the pt you need to get to. otherwise you spend too much time gear-shifting and figuring out where you left off, etc

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romothesavior
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:32 am

goosey wrote:if you turn your internet and phone off

Therein lies the rub.

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queenlizzie13
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby queenlizzie13 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:51 am

goosey wrote:I dont think its too late to outline..I almost just started myself. if you turn your internet and phone off, and literally just SIT there and outline for 8 hours, you will be shocked how much you get done

advice: I used to split my days up between classes during 1L...so I would work on my civ pro outline on wednesdays, crim on thursdays, etc etc..and I have found that its much more efficient to just work on a single class continuously until you get to the pt you need to get to. otherwise you spend too much time gear-shifting and figuring out where you left off, etc


I agree with this. I've been working on outlines one class at a time and I think its been more efficient.

Also I definitely get further on weekends when there's not class interrupting, etc.

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Gettingstarted1928
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby Gettingstarted1928 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:59 pm

JCougar wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
johansantana21 wrote:The "too early" comment gave me hope until I realized it came from a 2L

In all seriousness, you'll be fine if you just started. Some would say the earlier the better, but you sort of get diminishing returns if you start to outline really early (at least IMO). In fact, I think there is a too early, a too late, and a "juuuuust right" when it comes to 1L outlining. For me, outlining was the vast majority of the learning and studying process. It helped me to relearn all the early semester stuff, as well as start to see how everything fit together. I don't see how you can really get much benefit from it in September or even early October, but everyone learns differently.

If you learn like me, you have time to learn the material and still do well on the exams. Just go nose to the grindstone for the next month, and don't let anyone intimidate you by how long they've been outlining for or how hard they've been working. A good chunk of the hardest working people will end up below you on the curve.


This. The real challenge in law school is not learning and applying the doctrine. If you keep up with the reading, you only need about one weekend per course to outline it and maybe read some supplements. Then just go over it with some practice tests in the study days before the exam.

The real challenge is figuring out what type of response gets you the most points on the exam. Because most of your class is going to figure out the doctrine and how to apply it come exam time. Studying your outline once you already know it simply isn't going to produce better results. There's a minimum threshold of going over the doctrine you have to do, and if you do it, your next concern should be figuring out law school exam response.


It seems like taking a law school exam is a science. I think I've been simplifying the process. I just assumed that you learn your outline (i.e., the law) and then apply it to the facts on the exam.

Any suggestions on where I'm going wrong would be appreciated.

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goosey
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby goosey » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:39 pm

Gettingstarted1928 wrote:
It seems like taking a law school exam is a science. I think I've been simplifying the process. I just assumed that you learn your outline (i.e., the law) and then apply it to the facts on the exam.

Any suggestions on where I'm going wrong would be appreciated.



that *is* what you do. but the secret is knowing the law well enough to see every possible argument that can be raised without being ridiculous [ie. connecting all the dots while you outline] and knowing which issues you can bunch together where appropriate to maximize your points...and understanding how the different concepts can bounce off eachother. So this is where knowing the law REALLY WELL comes in. if you dont know it well enough, you cant spot the issues..you cant make the connections, and you cant throw every possible colorable argument in there.

next, is being able to argue both sides. so you are applying the law to the facts, as you said. take those concepts and use them in every way you can to argue for and against each side. pole holes in your own arguments.

i have found that if you start doing this WHILE outlining it helps to digest the law better. my outlines typically have little notes under concepts and rules like "Remember this when x doesnt work out, because in situations where x doesnt apply, y can apply. but then again, y also needs z, and so..etc etc etc]

I have found that learning the law REALLY WELL will get you to an A-/B+ [at my school at least, where we are on a B+ curve] but that means literally knowing everything you covered upside down, inside out, backwards, forwards, jumbled up, and anything else you can do it. Because in effect, knowing the law that well will help you formulate arguments for both sides. so, in my opinion [which could very well be wrong], even if you arent master applyer of law to facts, you can do well by knowing the law better than everyone else and doing a DECENT job of applying the law to the facts.

also, take practice exams.

adonai
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby adonai » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:00 pm

I've realized that law school exams have law school exams within them, and it frustrates the crap out of me because doing well on one type doesn't necessarily mean you'll do well on the other. One of my profs only wants you to only apply the law to the facts, which is different from arguing. One wants every issue we learned in class mentioned and applied, even if it is a stretch or clearly doesn't apply. One wants only applicable laws and CREATIVE arguments, which can require "real world" logic/street smarts/common sense. Seems like there is no one way to rock law school.

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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby goosey » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:21 pm

adonai wrote:I've realized that law school exams have law school exams within them, and it frustrates the crap out of me because doing well on one type doesn't necessarily mean you'll do well on the other. One of my profs only wants you to only apply the law to the facts, which is different from arguing. One wants every issue we learned in class mentioned and applied, even if it is a stretch or clearly doesn't apply. One wants only applicable laws and CREATIVE arguments, which can require "real world" logic/street smarts/common sense. Seems like there is no one way to rock law school.



i will have to disagree here.

While it is important to know what the professor wants, I think the fact that people that do well typically do well across teh board [and vice versa] speaks to the fact that there is a "right" way, and you either get it or you dont. those that do will do well regardless of the specific professor's idiosyncracies--i seriously doubt that an A student will wind up with a C based on not following a formula for the professor. I had a professor that basically just wanted us to spot the issues and there was no deep analysis required, another that liked to see policy behind every rule, and another that just wanted the rule and the analysis, with emphasis on the analysis. But if you look at the A exams for these professors, they will all be totally different. Bottom line: know the law, apply the law, and keep an eye towards what the professor looks for.

Applying teh law to the facts *is*arguing...you are demonstrating how that law can be applied in differing ways where you get one outcome or the other. that is arguing both sides. All professors want you to mention every possible issue, even if only to shoot it down in one line, to demonstrate that you know not only what would work, but also what clearly would NOT work. in the end, there are main things you need to demonstrate on an exam...yes, all professors have different preferences, but you can approach all exams in one way and still do really well if you know your stuff and know how to express/argue it on both sides.

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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby adonai » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:37 pm

goosey wrote:i will have to disagree here.

While it is important to know what the professor wants, I think the fact that people that do well typically do well across teh board [and vice versa] speaks to the fact that there is a "right" way, and you either get it or you dont. those that do will do well regardless of the specific professor's idiosyncracies--i seriously doubt that an A student will wind up with a C based on not following a formula for the professor. I had a professor that basically just wanted us to spot the issues and there was no deep analysis required, another that liked to see policy behind every rule, and another that just wanted the rule and the analysis, with emphasis on the analysis. But if you look at the A exams for these professors, they will all be totally different. Bottom line: know the law, apply the law, and keep an eye towards what the professor looks for.

Applying teh law to the facts *is*arguing...you are demonstrating how that law can be applied in differing ways where you get one outcome or the other. that is arguing both sides. All professors want you to mention every possible issue, even if only to shoot it down in one line, to demonstrate that you know not only what would work, but also what clearly would NOT work. in the end, there are main things you need to demonstrate on an exam...yes, all professors have different preferences, but you can approach all exams in one way and still do really well if you know your stuff and know how to express/argue it on both sides.

That just seems way too simple. I've taken midterms for a couple classes and I did very well, but they were "traditional" no-hiding-the-ball issue spotters. If they were policy oriented or creative argument based exams (which are the classes I didn't take midterms for), I'd say I would have not done well. They just seem like two different sides of the spectrum and test on two different skill sets. Straight applying law to fact is a lot simpler than making original, creative arguments, and IMO they are very different. I saw model exams for the latter style final I have, and I would never, ever be able to make or create those kinds of arguments.

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goosey
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby goosey » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:43 pm

adonai wrote:That just seems way too simple. I've taken midterms for a couple classes and I did very well, but they were "traditional" no-hiding-the-ball issue spotters. If they were policy oriented or creative argument based exams (which are the classes I didn't take midterms for), I'd say I would have not done well. They just seem like two different sides of the spectrum and test on two different skill sets. Straight applying law to fact is a lot simpler than making original, creative arguments, and IMO they are very different. I saw model exams for the latter style final I have, and I would never, ever be able to make or create those kinds of arguments.



applying the law to the facts requires creative arguments. you cant just take a rule and slap it onto facts...I am pretty sure the hypos on your midterm did not conform EXACTLY to the rule. there will always be one thing or another that doesnt quite fit on a law exam and creative argumentation is being able to argue those things through. if you look at the model answers for your midterms, I am sure you will see a similar approach as you saw for the other exams. Also, there are not only 2 A's in a class..so if you saw two model answers, maybe those were the "model" in the sense that they are what he looks for, but that doesnt mean those are the only 2 A's...and there are guaranteed other As and A-'s that look very different than those

your mistake seems ti be that you draw a distinction between "applying law to the facts" and "creative argumentation"--there is no such thing as "simple" application of law to the facts if you want to maximize points. exploring every possible avenue, and arguing for ways that the law can/should/can't/should not apply is how you apply law to the facts, and that is rarely, if ever, simple. perhaps in the throw-away issues like "maybe this can come up, but the problem is A didnt have...."

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JCougar
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby JCougar » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:03 pm

Gettingstarted1928 wrote:It seems like taking a law school exam is a science. I think I've been simplifying the process. I just assumed that you learn your outline (i.e., the law) and then apply it to the facts on the exam.

Any suggestions on where I'm going wrong would be appreciated.


You don't want to simplify on law school exams. You want to expand and create chaos. You want to blow the hypothetical up into as many pieces as possible. Question every fact. List every argument you can think of as long as it's even slightly plausible. The more arguments, the better.

You should be looking for excuses to work an argument in, rather than looking for reasons why it's not relevant. Even the weak or BS arguments can get you a lot of points. How much BS gets you points depends on your professor.

You should be looking for reasons to prove what you know, and show off that you have read everything...rather than staying focused and only listing the most effective arguments.

This is why people who type the most and the fastest almost always succeed across the board. The best way to describe a law exam is an "outline copying contest." If it's on your outline and it's even slightly relevant, put it down, even if it seems like an embarrassingly stupid argument to you. There's no telling whether the teacher will think it's superfluous or not, but you can't lose any points by typing too much. You can only lose time...but if you type extremely fast, you'll have time to list everything your mind can conjure up. You should have no shame...just blatantly apply any part of the doctrine that you can possibly think of. As long as it has only a little bit of merit, you might get points for it.

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ph14
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby ph14 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:04 pm

JCougar wrote:
Gettingstarted1928 wrote:It seems like taking a law school exam is a science. I think I've been simplifying the process. I just assumed that you learn your outline (i.e., the law) and then apply it to the facts on the exam.

Any suggestions on where I'm going wrong would be appreciated.


You don't want to simplify on law school exams. You want to expand and create chaos. You want to blow the hypothetical up into as many pieces as possible. Question every fact. List every argument you can think of as long as it's even slightly plausible. The more arguments, the better.

You should be looking for excuses to work an argument in, rather than looking for reasons why it's not relevant. Even the weak or BS arguments can get you a lot of points. How much BS gets you points depends on your professor.

You should be looking for reasons to prove what you know, and show off that you have read everything...rather than staying focused and only listing the most effective arguments.

This is why people who type the most and the fastest almost always succeed across the board. The best way to describe a law exam is an "outline copying contest." If it's on your outline and it's even slightly relevant, put it down, even if it seems like an embarrassingly stupid argument to you. There's no telling whether the teacher will think it's superfluous or not, but you can't lose any points by typing too much. You can only lose time...but if you type extremely fast, you'll have time to list everything your mind can conjure up. You should have no shame...just blatantly apply any part of the doctrine that you can possibly think of. As long as it has only a little bit of merit, you might get points for it.


Any advice for exams that are word restricted?

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JCougar
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby JCougar » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:07 pm

ph14 wrote:
JCougar wrote:
Gettingstarted1928 wrote:It seems like taking a law school exam is a science. I think I've been simplifying the process. I just assumed that you learn your outline (i.e., the law) and then apply it to the facts on the exam.

Any suggestions on where I'm going wrong would be appreciated.


You don't want to simplify on law school exams. You want to expand and create chaos. You want to blow the hypothetical up into as many pieces as possible. Question every fact. List every argument you can think of as long as it's even slightly plausible. The more arguments, the better.

You should be looking for excuses to work an argument in, rather than looking for reasons why it's not relevant. Even the weak or BS arguments can get you a lot of points. How much BS gets you points depends on your professor.

You should be looking for reasons to prove what you know, and show off that you have read everything...rather than staying focused and only listing the most effective arguments.

This is why people who type the most and the fastest almost always succeed across the board. The best way to describe a law exam is an "outline copying contest." If it's on your outline and it's even slightly relevant, put it down, even if it seems like an embarrassingly stupid argument to you. There's no telling whether the teacher will think it's superfluous or not, but you can't lose any points by typing too much. You can only lose time...but if you type extremely fast, you'll have time to list everything your mind can conjure up. You should have no shame...just blatantly apply any part of the doctrine that you can possibly think of. As long as it has only a little bit of merit, you might get points for it.


Any advice for exams that are word restricted?


I've never had one. Romo had one and did really well on it, so maybe he can help. It probably depends on the professor.

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Tanicius
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby Tanicius » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:34 pm

So this is something that's been bugging me. Is IRAC (with far less attention paid to the conclusion of course) the basic layout? And do I need to be trying to cite the name or at least a three word description of case laws that support the rule? I guess another way of asking this is, do I need to cite authority for all my rules or no?

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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby dabomb75 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:40 pm

Tanicius wrote:So this is something that's been bugging me. Is IRAC (with far less attention paid to the conclusion of course) the basic layout? And do I need to be trying to cite the name or at least a three word description of case laws that support the rule? I guess another way of asking this is, do I need to cite authority for all my rules or no?


again I think it depends on the class. One of my prof's just had a practice exam, and in going over it, every single issue he brought up he wanted us to analyze in IRA(no C) form, with our R being from binding authority aka cases. The other one just doesn't give a damn about any cases whatsoever and you can probably get an A without mentioning a single case covered in class

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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby adonai » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:15 am

goosey wrote:applying the law to the facts requires creative arguments. you cant just take a rule and slap it onto facts...I am pretty sure the hypos on your midterm did not conform EXACTLY to the rule. there will always be one thing or another that doesnt quite fit on a law exam and creative argumentation is being able to argue those things through. if you look at the model answers for your midterms, I am sure you will see a similar approach as you saw for the other exams. Also, there are not only 2 A's in a class..so if you saw two model answers, maybe those were the "model" in the sense that they are what he looks for, but that doesnt mean those are the only 2 A's...and there are guaranteed other As and A-'s that look very different than those

your mistake seems ti be that you draw a distinction between "applying law to the facts" and "creative argumentation"--there is no such thing as "simple" application of law to the facts if you want to maximize points. exploring every possible avenue, and arguing for ways that the law can/should/can't/should not apply is how you apply law to the facts, and that is rarely, if ever, simple. perhaps in the throw-away issues like "maybe this can come up, but the problem is A didnt have...."

Maybe my professor is a really "easy" grader, but I draw this distinction between the two because I don't know if it really takes a clever argument (if it even is an argument) to show a robbery occurred when A snatched B's purse. I also don't think I'm super smart to the point these things just easily come to me and I see a mental grid of all possible arguments. How many A's are typically in a class anyway? Cause the way I see it is I am either right in my assessment, or I'm dumb and my section is dumber and I just happened to do better than them without making genius arguments. Or maybe I am just missing the meaning of what an argument is. :?

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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby NeighborGuy » Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:35 am

Tanicius wrote:So this is something that's been bugging me. Is IRAC (with far less attention paid to the conclusion of course) the basic layout? And do I need to be trying to cite the name or at least a three word description of case laws that support the rule? I guess another way of asking this is, do I need to cite authority for all my rules or no?


Ask your prof. Look at their practice exams, if any. Some professors don't care about citing cases. Others want you to know the case name, facts, holding, and make a fully fleshed out analogy to the fact pattern (my torts prof is like this :x ). They all want different things, so you gotta pay attention to what's in front of you instead of relying on conventional advice from TLS or other sources, which will inevitably vary.

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northwood
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby northwood » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:18 am

talk to your professors. I had a midterm, and when i talked to my prof, there were arguments that i made and issues that I analyzed that he didnt like, because they were not really issuses. He graded down the exam as a result

so it really does depend on what your professor wants

somethingdemure
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby somethingdemure » Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:18 pm

adonai wrote:
goosey wrote:applying the law to the facts requires creative arguments. you cant just take a rule and slap it onto facts...I am pretty sure the hypos on your midterm did not conform EXACTLY to the rule. there will always be one thing or another that doesnt quite fit on a law exam and creative argumentation is being able to argue those things through. if you look at the model answers for your midterms, I am sure you will see a similar approach as you saw for the other exams. Also, there are not only 2 A's in a class..so if you saw two model answers, maybe those were the "model" in the sense that they are what he looks for, but that doesnt mean those are the only 2 A's...and there are guaranteed other As and A-'s that look very different than those

your mistake seems ti be that you draw a distinction between "applying law to the facts" and "creative argumentation"--there is no such thing as "simple" application of law to the facts if you want to maximize points. exploring every possible avenue, and arguing for ways that the law can/should/can't/should not apply is how you apply law to the facts, and that is rarely, if ever, simple. perhaps in the throw-away issues like "maybe this can come up, but the problem is A didnt have...."

Maybe my professor is a really "easy" grader, but I draw this distinction between the two because I don't know if it really takes a clever argument (if it even is an argument) to show a robbery occurred when A snatched B's purse. I also don't think I'm super smart to the point these things just easily come to me and I see a mental grid of all possible arguments. How many A's are typically in a class anyway? Cause the way I see it is I am either right in my assessment, or I'm dumb and my section is dumber and I just happened to do better than them without making genius arguments. Or maybe I am just missing the meaning of what an argument is. :?


Goosey is right, I think. Creative policy questions are not usually looking for creative answers. If they were, then I'd agree that it's a different skill set and someone who excels at most law school exams may fail at this one. What they're looking for is a thoughtful assessment of how this or that statute or decision or policy would actually affect people. Look into Getting to Maybe on this point - the policy section in that book was undoubtedly, by far, the most useful piece of advice I ever read on law school exams. Almost all policy arguments can boil down into a few basic categories. How would this policy affect the judicial system - would it encourage frivolous lawsuits, discourage people from enforcing their rights, make judges' dockets unmanageable, encourage sloppy lawyering? How would this affect the behavior of the parties - would people be blindsided by a non-intuitive law, would they be subjected to unnecessarily meticulous & costly formality, are they incentivized to try and skirt the law?

In my opinion, this is exactly the same skill set as issue spotters, just instead of taking a fact pattern and seeing how various legal doctrines apply to it, you're taking one (or a few) legal rules and seeing how they'd apply across a wide range of facts. No doubt it takes practice, just like standard exams, to master the thought process behind it, but it's not fundamentally different.

And believe me, it's not that you or your class is stupid - law school is hard. The fact that you're getting decent grades on midterms and are able to distinguish between when you do and don't know means, I think, that you're ahead of the game.




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