Too late to start outlining?

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BruceWayne
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:59 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:2. You DO NOT learn much from outlining. I'm sorry, but I don't know why people think that they learn more by rotely typing and reorganizing notes. Let me ask people something: did you ever "outline" in college? Do you know any medical students, MBA's, or other graduate students who "outline"? Do you think that they do not know how to study but that for some strange reason law students do? You are better off spending 40 hours reading, memorizing, and learning a subject from a ready made outline or your notes than by retyping stuff for 40 hours. AKA what EVERY other form of higher education student does. Law has this weird mentality where it thinks that it's unique way of doing things is the best way, even when every other form of academia has abandoned that method. But that's a story for another day...

This is incredibly flawed reasoning. Outlining is unique to law school because law exams are unique to law school, and call for unique study methods. An MBA wouldn't outline for an exam like law students do because an MBA won't be tested in the same manner law students are. Other forms of academia rely less on outlining because rote memorization is more sufficient there.

Law students aren't supposed to just be learning "the law". This is a huge fallacy, I think, among potential and current law students. What you're actually studying is how to think; you're studying how to apply the law. Each class has different subject matter but similar principles of legal application. Like I said in my prior post, not everyone needs to outline, but outlining will teach most people who do it about legal application.


I'm sorry, but one thing I've learned most from going through a year of law school is how much pretentious bullshit people spout. Phrases like "you aren't learning the law, you're learning how to think" is some of the biggest bullshit that's peddled. Frankly, I've seen many A exams at this point, and frankly they basically boil down to 1) An obscene amount of doctrine plastered down as quickly as possible and 2) Whatever opinions the professor's have about said subject tied into that. As far as the outlining being special for law school because other rote memorization is "more sufficient" there is downright laughable. I assure you, rote memorization will not make you understand the FAR more complex subjects covered in medical school, engineering, chemistry etc. But again, that's the kind of thing that law students like to tell themselves because we want to validate our discipline in comparison to other more complex ones.

Anyway, my point, and seemingly DF's as well. Is that outlining is NOT the best choice for all, or frankly even most students. It certainly doesn't teach you how to "apply the law". The main thing for that is taking practice exams.

mrloblaw
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby mrloblaw » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:17 pm

I started outlining immediately after Thanksgiving dinner my 1L year. It went fine. I thus started even later the next semester.

As long as you don't mind a few 20 hour work days, you're fine.

As for all the "Don't outline"/be a unique snowflake arguments, I found that it helped me tremendously. The point of continuously reorganizing and distilling the material isn't to have something nifty on a sheet of paper to take to the exam with you; it's to learn the material through continuously reorganizing and distilling it. Lawl students outline because flash cards don't work for case law synthesis.

Outlining is to lawl school as flashcards and molecular models are to organic chemistry; Marbury v. Madison won't fit on a 3x5.

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Extension_Cord
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby Extension_Cord » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:26 pm

mrloblaw wrote:I started outlining immediately after Thanksgiving dinner my 1L year. It went fine. I thus started even later the next semester.

As long as you don't mind a few 20 hour work days, you're fine.

As for all the "Don't outline"/be a unique snowflake arguments, I found that it helped me tremendously. The point of continuously reorganizing and distilling the material isn't to have something nifty on a sheet of paper to take to the exam with you; it's to learn the material through continuously reorganizing and distilling it. Lawl students outline because flash cards don't work for case law synthesis.

Outlining is to lawl school as flashcards and molecular models are to organic chemistry; Marbury v. Madison won't fit on a 3x5.


What do you have on Marbury v. Madison that won't fit on a 3x5? Is your outline like 60 pages? Serious question, not being sarcastic.

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Gettingstarted1928
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby Gettingstarted1928 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:30 pm

mrloblaw wrote:I started outlining immediately after Thanksgiving dinner my 1L year. It went fine. I thus started even later the next semester.

As long as you don't mind a few 20 hour work days, you're fine.

As for all the "Don't outline"/be a unique snowflake arguments, I found that it helped me tremendously. The point of continuously reorganizing and distilling the material isn't to have something nifty on a sheet of paper to take to the exam with you; it's to learn the material through continuously reorganizing and distilling it. Lawl students outline because flash cards don't work for case law synthesis.

Outlining is to lawl school as flashcards and molecular models are to organic chemistry; Marbury v. Madison won't fit on a 3x5.



:shock:

That at least gives me some motivation that it's not too late. I just don't want to burn out by doing 20 hr work days. I don't think I've ever truly burnt out on anything, but I've also never put in 20 hour days, at least never for more than a day or so.

mrloblaw
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby mrloblaw » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:36 pm

Extension_Cord wrote:
What do you have on Marbury v. Madison that won't fit on a 3x5? Is your outline like 60 pages? Serious question, not being sarcastic.


My 1L outlines were about 80 pages per course per semester, although I didn't actually use them beyond what I learned from compiling them in the first place. There should have been a secondary step of truncating down a more exam-friendly version [mainly the black letter holdings of the cases, common English translations of UCC sections, etc.], but in my case, I spent so much time preparing the outline in the last few weeks that I basically had the entire thing memorized going in anyway.

mrloblaw
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby mrloblaw » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:39 pm

Gettingstarted1928 wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:I started outlining immediately after Thanksgiving dinner my 1L year. It went fine. I thus started even later the next semester.

As long as you don't mind a few 20 hour work days, you're fine.

As for all the "Don't outline"/be a unique snowflake arguments, I found that it helped me tremendously. The point of continuously reorganizing and distilling the material isn't to have something nifty on a sheet of paper to take to the exam with you; it's to learn the material through continuously reorganizing and distilling it. Lawl students outline because flash cards don't work for case law synthesis.

Outlining is to lawl school as flashcards and molecular models are to organic chemistry; Marbury v. Madison won't fit on a 3x5.



:shock:

That at least gives me some motivation that it's not too late. I just don't want to burn out by doing 20 hr work days. I don't think I've ever truly burnt out on anything, but I've also never put in 20 hour days, at least never for more than a day or so.


If I had to do it again, I wouldn't start that late, because the ten days or so I spent outlining were complete Hell. My 1L school was also helped me procrastinate by (a) teaching all the 1L classes year-long, so I had less to learn per class each semester, and (b) giving us something like a week to ten days for Thanksgiving + studying right before finals.

I'm just saying it's doable, so long as you aren't opposed to working as hard as you can reasonably (i.e. sleep, eat, exercise, take breaks to the extent necessary to keep working at optimum efficiency when you are studying).

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johansantana21
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby johansantana21 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:11 am

Extension_Cord wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:I started outlining immediately after Thanksgiving dinner my 1L year. It went fine. I thus started even later the next semester.

As long as you don't mind a few 20 hour work days, you're fine.

As for all the "Don't outline"/be a unique snowflake arguments, I found that it helped me tremendously. The point of continuously reorganizing and distilling the material isn't to have something nifty on a sheet of paper to take to the exam with you; it's to learn the material through continuously reorganizing and distilling it. Lawl students outline because flash cards don't work for case law synthesis.

Outlining is to lawl school as flashcards and molecular models are to organic chemistry; Marbury v. Madison won't fit on a 3x5.


What do you have on Marbury v. Madison that won't fit on a 3x5? Is your outline like 60 pages? Serious question, not being sarcastic.


This.

I don't know what you guys are putting on your outlines.

I can fit every single case onto a flashcard easily. Not case briefs, but I thought we only needed the controlling rule and the principle it establishes or some small difference in standard it creates.

How can you not fit a single case onto a flashcard? I'm genuinely curious. Maybe you can copy paste here what you wrote for Marbury? I want to see if I'm doing this right.

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Extension_Cord
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby Extension_Cord » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:17 am

johansantana21 wrote:
Extension_Cord wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:I started outlining immediately after Thanksgiving dinner my 1L year. It went fine. I thus started even later the next semester.

As long as you don't mind a few 20 hour work days, you're fine.

As for all the "Don't outline"/be a unique snowflake arguments, I found that it helped me tremendously. The point of continuously reorganizing and distilling the material isn't to have something nifty on a sheet of paper to take to the exam with you; it's to learn the material through continuously reorganizing and distilling it. Lawl students outline because flash cards don't work for case law synthesis.

Outlining is to lawl school as flashcards and molecular models are to organic chemistry; Marbury v. Madison won't fit on a 3x5.


What do you have on Marbury v. Madison that won't fit on a 3x5? Is your outline like 60 pages? Serious question, not being sarcastic.


This.

I don't know what you guys are putting on your outlines.

I can fit every single case onto a flashcard easily. Not case briefs, but I thought we only needed the controlling rule and the principle it establishes or some small difference in standard it creates.

How can you not fit a single case onto a flashcard? I'm genuinely curious. Maybe you can copy paste here what you wrote for Marbury? I want to see if I'm doing this right.


I think the reasoning, holding (on the big cases - you will know this anyways), and the rule are the most important.

I dont think the holding is important in any other class as long as you know the reasoning / rule. Once you know the rule, you should be good on the reasoning. Its difficult to see a rule and not know the logic behind it afterall. So yeah, for the most part I just have the rule down aswell.

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johansantana21
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby johansantana21 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:21 am

Exactly. How do you not fit the reasoning, rule, holding into a flashcard?

Only exception I see is if it's a court case which didn't even have a majority opinion and 4 different concurring ones...

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Extension_Cord
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby Extension_Cord » Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:31 am

johansantana21 wrote:Exactly. How do you not fit the reasoning, rule, holding into a flashcard?

Only exception I see is if it's a court case which didn't even have a majority opinion and 4 different concurring ones...


Maybe his class tests on the facts of the case? IDK.

I tailor my outlines to what my teacher tests on. Like my Con Law exam is multiple choice, so I don't worry about reasoning and holding as much as I worry about the actual rules. However my Contracts exam is written so Im focusing on cases, rules and application more.

mrloblaw
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby mrloblaw » Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:21 am

Your outlining should obviously be tailored to the structure of your exam. All of my exams were basically the same: here's a fact pattern giving rise to a hypothetical case. Pretend you're the judge writing the opinion. Present both side's arguments (e.g. "The defendant argues that . . .") and then say which side should win and why. That meant that I did have to play around with facts (distinguishing precedent/deciding which precedent was more applicable), make policy arguments, etc. That's probably why my outlines were huge.

My point was that, in a more abstract sense, law can't be written down in the same way as "Ideal Gas Law: pv=nrt." New card. "Concentration Quotients: "Kc = ([S]^s*[T]^t)/([A]^a*[B]^b)" New card. Repeat. Law school exams, like law itself, is more art than science. In science, the stuff of rote memorization gets you 90% of the way to the right answer. You've got rules, you've got the way you mechanically apply the rules to the facts, and you're done. In art, the stuff of rote memorization (famous paintings you sketch, symphonies you study, etc.) gets you maybe 10% of the way there, and the rest is how you manipulate it. That's why I vehemently disagree with BW's "just study like they do it in every other field" reasoning above.

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shepdawg
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby shepdawg » Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:56 pm

3 weeks is plenty of time. Create your outline as you study and practice hypos.

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northwood
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby northwood » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:20 pm

with 3 weeks left, there is still time

ak362
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby ak362 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:50 pm

As a 3L, I'm just going to go ahead and say I hope there's enough time left, considering I haven't even hit "New Document" on Word to create outlines for my two exams. Then again, 3L-itis.

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Tanicius
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby Tanicius » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:33 pm

ak362 wrote:As a 3L, I'm just going to go ahead and say I hope there's enough time left, considering I haven't even hit "New Document" on Word to create outlines for my two exams. Then again, 3L-itis.


Is 1L-itis a thing? Because I think I have that.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby pleasetryagain » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:50 pm

BruceWayne wrote:1. It takes an ENORMOUS amount of time to properly outline a class. I mean seriously, it really does. Someone on here mentioned it already but it may take you something like 40 hours to outline a class. Most 1Ls have 3-4 classes. That's up to 1600 hours outlining!!!! You do not have that kind of time!!!! Your time is too important during 1L to spend it "outlining" for 40 hours.



4*40 = 1600? Did no one else catch this?

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JCougar
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby JCougar » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:10 pm

BruceWayne wrote:I'm sorry, but one thing I've learned most from going through a year of law school is how much pretentious bullshit people spout. Phrases like "you aren't learning the law, you're learning how to think" is some of the biggest bullshit that's peddled. Frankly, I've seen many A exams at this point, and frankly they basically boil down to 1) An obscene amount of doctrine plastered down as quickly as possible and 2) Whatever opinions the professor's have about said subject tied into that. As far as the outlining being special for law school because other rote memorization is "more sufficient" there is downright laughable. I assure you, rote memorization will not make you understand the FAR more complex subjects covered in medical school, engineering, chemistry etc. But again, that's the kind of thing that law students like to tell themselves because we want to validate our discipline in comparison to other more complex ones.

Anyway, my point, and seemingly DF's as well. Is that outlining is NOT the best choice for all, or frankly even most students. It certainly doesn't teach you how to "apply the law". The main thing for that is taking practice exams.


Such a great post.

The purpose of outlining is to basically pre-arrange arguments that apply to each doctrinal topic so you can copy straight from your outline onto your exam and change a few words so they apply to the facts. "Thinking like a lawyer" is basically training yourself stretch logic in order to copy down the most doctrine in the least amount of time while slightly tweaking it to fit a hypothetical fact scenario. There's only very limited cognitive processing involved.

The legal doctrines in stuff like Property, Criminal Law, and Torts are embarrassingly simple and easy to understand. Civ Pro, Contracts, and Con Law are a little more complex, but it's nothing like calculus, physics, molecular biology, or chemistry. It's not even really philosophical, despite how people like to always link law to philosophy. Law exams are mostly copying and pasting. You copy from your casebook onto your outline because the casebook is too big to root through during the exam. Then you copy from your outline to the exam screen on your computer.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby BruceWayne » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:27 pm

pleasetryagain wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:1. It takes an ENORMOUS amount of time to properly outline a class. I mean seriously, it really does. Someone on here mentioned it already but it may take you something like 40 hours to outline a class. Most 1Ls have 3-4 classes. That's up to 1600 hours outlining!!!! You do not have that kind of time!!!! Your time is too important during 1L to spend it "outlining" for 40 hours.



4*40 = 1600? Did no one else catch this?


Lol can't believe I typed that. But clearly the point is that outlining takes up a TON of time. Trust me when you get to 1L you will understand that your every minute is precious.

RPK34
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby RPK34 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:33 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
pleasetryagain wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:1. It takes an ENORMOUS amount of time to properly outline a class. I mean seriously, it really does. Someone on here mentioned it already but it may take you something like 40 hours to outline a class. Most 1Ls have 3-4 classes. That's up to 1600 hours outlining!!!! You do not have that kind of time!!!! Your time is too important during 1L to spend it "outlining" for 40 hours.



4*40 = 1600? Did no one else catch this?


Lol can't believe I typed that. But clearly the point is that outlining takes up a TON of time. Trust me when you get to 1L you will understand that your every minute is precious.


This last sentence is utter nonsense.

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The Gentleman
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby The Gentleman » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:47 pm

Meh I didn't really get serious about outlining until about a week ago. I looked at a few older outlines, but decided that making my own would be a better investment. Throw on some tunes, copy/paste from Westlaw and your notes, and enjoy it lol.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby pleasetryagain » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:48 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
pleasetryagain wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:1. It takes an ENORMOUS amount of time to properly outline a class. I mean seriously, it really does. Someone on here mentioned it already but it may take you something like 40 hours to outline a class. Most 1Ls have 3-4 classes. That's up to 1600 hours outlining!!!! You do not have that kind of time!!!! Your time is too important during 1L to spend it "outlining" for 40 hours.



4*40 = 1600? Did no one else catch this?


Lol can't believe I typed that. But clearly the point is that outlining takes up a TON of time. Trust me when you get to 1L you will understand that your every minute is precious.


I'm a 2L.

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johansantana21
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby johansantana21 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:49 pm

The Gentleman wrote:Meh I didn't really get serious about outlining until about a week ago. I looked at a few older outlines, but decided that making my own would be a better investment. Throw on some tunes, copy/paste from Westlaw and your notes, and enjoy it lol.


You're at Harvard.

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ph14
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby ph14 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:16 am

JCougar wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:I'm sorry, but one thing I've learned most from going through a year of law school is how much pretentious bullshit people spout. Phrases like "you aren't learning the law, you're learning how to think" is some of the biggest bullshit that's peddled. Frankly, I've seen many A exams at this point, and frankly they basically boil down to 1) An obscene amount of doctrine plastered down as quickly as possible and 2) Whatever opinions the professor's have about said subject tied into that. As far as the outlining being special for law school because other rote memorization is "more sufficient" there is downright laughable. I assure you, rote memorization will not make you understand the FAR more complex subjects covered in medical school, engineering, chemistry etc. But again, that's the kind of thing that law students like to tell themselves because we want to validate our discipline in comparison to other more complex ones.

Anyway, my point, and seemingly DF's as well. Is that outlining is NOT the best choice for all, or frankly even most students. It certainly doesn't teach you how to "apply the law". The main thing for that is taking practice exams.


Such a great post.

The purpose of outlining is to basically pre-arrange arguments that apply to each doctrinal topic so you can copy straight from your outline onto your exam and change a few words so they apply to the facts. "Thinking like a lawyer" is basically training yourself stretch logic in order to copy down the most doctrine in the least amount of time while slightly tweaking it to fit a hypothetical fact scenario. There's only very limited cognitive processing involved.

The legal doctrines in stuff like Property, Criminal Law, and Torts are embarrassingly simple and easy to understand. Civ Pro, Contracts, and Con Law are a little more complex, but it's nothing like calculus, physics, molecular biology, or chemistry. It's not even really philosophical, despite how people like to always link law to philosophy. Law exams are mostly copying and pasting. You copy from your casebook onto your outline because the casebook is too big to root through during the exam. Then you copy from your outline to the exam screen on your computer.


I disagree with you a bit here, property seems to be the most technical and complex of my classes, much more so than Civ Pro. For me though, the vast majority of my exams this semester are word restricted to severely word restricted, and policy questions are prominent. Common TLS advice doesn't seem to apply for me. Anyone else in the same boat?

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johansantana21
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby johansantana21 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:17 am

I hate policy questions...Good thing only 1 exam has a major question devoted to it.

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ph14
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Re: Too late to start outlining?

Postby ph14 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:19 am

johansantana21 wrote:I hate policy questions...Good thing only 1 exam has a major question devoted to it.


Everyone of my exams is at least 1/3 policy.




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