Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

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GobBluthJD
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Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby GobBluthJD » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:32 am

Hey all,

This forum helped me out a lot back in my pre-law school days (seems so long ago now). I'm currently in my 2nd year of being an attorney, so I thought I'd share a few tips I picked up in law school to help some of those 1L jitters.

(1) Stop prepping for class, start prepping for the final.

Starting from BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS, your only job in your big doctrinal classes (contracts, torts, civ pro, etc) is to prep for the final. Class participation means fuck-all. Your grade solely depends, for almost all professors, on your final exam. That means stop wasting time with the casebook. I got A’s in Civ Pro, Con Law, Election Law and a few others literally without even buying the casebook.
Before class starts, buy a good hornbook for the subject — I found that getting the E&E and the LexisNexis Q&A books for each subject gave a good mix of content and practice questions. Work your way through those books for each subject over the first half of the semester. When you get to the halfway point in the semester, switch to taking final exams. You should be able to get practice exams from 2L’s and 3L’s or from the school itself.

THE SINGLE BIGGEST MISTAKE students make in law school is sinking thousands of hours reading and briefing cases in preparation for class, all of which achieves NOTHING for your grade on the final. Taking final exams is an art form that you have to start prepping for on Day 1. All of your classmates will start shitting bricks a week before finals when they realize all the work they spent through the semester means nothing for the final exam.

(2) Stop wasting class time, make class your prep time

If you get called on in class, just ask to pass. It’s embarrassing and the professor may give you shit, but just let it roll off you. Don’t waste class time fucking around on facebook or kissing the professor’s ass. Neither of these activities helps your performance on the final exam. Use class time to work through the E&E.

If you sit in the back of your big doctrinal classes you’ll see something like 40% of your classmates on facebook, another 40% screwing around doing something else, and maybe 20% actually taking notes. None of these activities is a useful way to spend your time.

Open up your laptop lid just so you look like everyone else. Then open up your book of practice questions (E&E or Q&A or whatever) and start working your way through them. I would usually be working through the E&E for whatever class I was currently sitting in, so that it at least looked like I was doing something relevant.
That’s it.

Those two things are all you need.

Spend ALL of your “classwork” time in prepping for the final, and spend ALL of your class time prepping for the final.

Now there are as many different ways to succeed in law school as there are law students, but these two pieces of advice are based off of the mistakes I saw all my classmates making, and what worked for me.

Anecdotes are not data, but these two things worked tremendously well for me. I graduated with High Honors, got Order of the Coif, all that happy crap. And I did it while working ~30-35 hrs/wk (in flagrant violation of school rules) and happily maintaining my relationship with my lovely lady.

Because I used class time as my study time, I was able to spend 8:30-4:30 M-F at the law school every week, and never bring a single book home. It was less stressful than any job I’d ever had.

Law school can be fun. It can be easy. And you can succeed. Just stop wasting your time in class, and start prepping for your finals from day 1 of the semester.

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Bronte
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Bronte » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:54 am

The title really doesn't do your post justice here dude. "Time-Saving Tips for 1L's"? More like Radical Approach to Hacking Law School. In any event, you're not the first to suggest that not reading, relying solely on supplements, etc. is the key to success. There's a book that's been around forever that advocates something similar, although the name is escaping me.

In any event, I think it's preposterous advice and would strongly advise against taking it. I have had success in law school using purely traditional methods. I don't even use supplements. I just read, highlight in one color, take notes in the margin, go to every class and take notes and pay attention, outline from scratch, and take practice tests.

I would never suggest that my methods are the only ones that work. There are lots of effective approaches. I will, however, say as I have in the past that these "hack"-type approaches that entail not reading, not paying attention in class, etc. are not wise.

There are some aspects of the OPs advice that strain credulity. First, taking a pass every time you're called on is going to hurt your grade. In 1L courses, everyone is usually called on 2 to 3 times. If you pass each time, the prof is going to ding you a third of a letter grade. Further, if you pass, the prof will often call on you the next day. When people say participation doesn't matter, they mean it doesn't matter assuming you put forth a passable effort.

Second, the approach makes no allowance for giving the professor what the professor wants. It assumes the professor is going to give you a blackletter test about the most widely accepted principles of the law. This is often not the case. While the blackletter drives the exams, professors often test on various idiosyncracies from the course.

The list goes on, but I'm typing on my phone so I'm going to stop.

Miller32
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Miller32 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:24 am

I think OP gives some good advice, just takes it too far. All that matters is the final, and that should be the focus from day 1. But there's no reason, especially in 1L doctrinal classes, to totally blow off the reading. Have a good idea of what the main principle of the case is, and know enough to give a passable effort if called on so you don't look like an idiot. Other than that, he's right. Totally focus on the final exam from the very start of the semester.

ClubberLang
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby ClubberLang » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:41 am

Some of this is pretty lousy advice. If you are smart you can hack it and get some A's. If you are smart and pay attention in class and do your reading you can get some A+'s. If you are not smart, following this advice is a great way to hit median or worse.

The advice about not kissing ass and not caring about looking like an idiot is sound, as is focusing on the final (if you can figure out what that means).

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Dany
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Dany » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:46 am

Bronte wrote: First, taking a pass every time you're called on is going to hurt your grade. In 1L courses, everyone is usually called on 2 to 3 times. If you pass each time, the prof is going to ding you a third of a letter grade. Further, if you pass, the prof will often call on you the next day. When people say participation doesn't matter, they mean it doesn't matter assuming you put forth a passable effort.

Maybe this happens to be true for whatever school you're at, but it is definitely not true everywhere.

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IHeartPhilly
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby IHeartPhilly » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:56 am

1L in waiting, start monday. I'm under the impression that traditional briefing is a time sink, but reading every assigned case is not. An effective "brief" is one that extracts the legal rule from assigned cases, while abandoning the other traditional brief elements b/c they're a bit superfluous. Obviously theres debate as to which is the best way to brief. I can't imagine the traditional briefing method would be effective in preparing for the final. Do any 2Ls/3Ls advocate traditional briefing?

Miller32
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Miller32 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

IHeartPhilly wrote:1L in waiting, start monday. I'm under the impression that traditional briefing is a time sink, but reading every assigned case is not. An effective "brief" is one that extracts the legal rule from assigned cases, while abandoning the other traditional brief elements b/c they're a bit superfluous. Obviously theres debate as to which is the best way to brief. I can't imagine the traditional briefing method would be effective in preparing for the final. Do any 2Ls/3Ls advocate traditional briefing?


I would brief for the first week just to reinforce what the important parts of the cases are. After that highlighting is probably sufficient.

vulpixie
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby vulpixie » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:24 pm

Dany wrote:
Bronte wrote: First, taking a pass every time you're called on is going to hurt your grade. In 1L courses, everyone is usually called on 2 to 3 times. If you pass each time, the prof is going to ding you a third of a letter grade. Further, if you pass, the prof will often call on you the next day. When people say participation doesn't matter, they mean it doesn't matter assuming you put forth a passable effort.

Maybe this happens to be true for whatever school you're at, but it is definitely not true everywhere.


TITCR. I have seen people get thrown out of class for obviously not reading the material several classes in a row. A lot of professors will dock you a letter grade or more if you have consistently awful participation.

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Bronte
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Bronte » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:24 pm

Dany wrote:
Bronte wrote: First, taking a pass every time you're called on is going to hurt your grade. In 1L courses, everyone is usually called on 2 to 3 times. If you pass each time, the prof is going to ding you a third of a letter grade. Further, if you pass, the prof will often call on you the next day. When people say participation doesn't matter, they mean it doesn't matter assuming you put forth a passable effort.

Maybe this happens to be true for whatever school you're at, but it is definitely not true everywhere.


I find it hard to believe that there's any school where taking a pass every time you're cold called isn't going to jeopardize your grade. Obviously, it's accepted that performing well in cold calls is not critical. But consistently admitting that you have not prepared for class is unwise.

09042014
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby 09042014 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:47 pm

Bronte wrote:
Dany wrote:
Bronte wrote: First, taking a pass every time you're called on is going to hurt your grade. In 1L courses, everyone is usually called on 2 to 3 times. If you pass each time, the prof is going to ding you a third of a letter grade. Further, if you pass, the prof will often call on you the next day. When people say participation doesn't matter, they mean it doesn't matter assuming you put forth a passable effort.

Maybe this happens to be true for whatever school you're at, but it is definitely not true everywhere.


I find it hard to believe that there's any school where taking a pass every time you're cold called isn't going to jeopardize your grade. Obviously, it's accepted that performing well in cold calls is not critical. But consistently admitting that you have not prepared for class is unwise.


I wouldn't risk it, but most classes don't really count participation. If they don't say they do, then it doesn't hurt. Even if they say they do, they usually don't.

But I probably risk it.

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Cade McNown
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Cade McNown » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:59 pm

OP's lawl school conspicuously absent.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby somewhatwayward » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:01 pm

This strategy sounds like it would work better at non-T14s (ie places where blackletter law is the be-all and end-all).

Can someone link to that thread with the girl who was really upset to be median pwned the first semester (didn't read the casebook at all, etc) and then listened to the advice on here to actually read the cases and got all As the second semester?

09042014
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby 09042014 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:02 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:This strategy sounds like it would work better at non-T14s (ie places where blackletter law is the be-all and end-all).

Can someone link to that thread with the girl who was really upset to be median pwned the first semester (didn't read the casebook at all, etc) and then listened to the advice on here to actually read the cases and got all As the second semester?


Actually, I'd think it would be better at a t14, where competition is less fierce and professors are less likely to ask nitpicky little questsions from the reading.

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fatduck
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby fatduck » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:07 pm

Spend ALL of your “classwork” time in prepping for the final, and spend ALL of your class time prepping for the final.

Um, why go to class, then?

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Bronte
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Bronte » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:11 pm

Desert Fox wrote:I wouldn't risk it, but most classes don't really count participation. If they don't say they do, then it doesn't hurt. Even if they say they do, they usually don't.

But I probably risk it.


I probably overstated the case when I said that you certainly will get docked a third letter grade. What I should have said is that, if you do that in all your classes, you run a significant risk of getting docked in one or more of them. Normally participation doesn't matter, but I think that TLS truism assumes you're not refusing to answer every cold call.

09042014
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby 09042014 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:13 pm

Bronte wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I wouldn't risk it, but most classes don't really count participation. If they don't say they do, then it doesn't hurt. Even if they say they do, they usually don't.

But I probably risk it.


I probably overstated the case when I said that you certainly will get docked a third letter grade. What I should have said is that, if you do that in all your classes, you run a significant risk of getting docked in one or more of them. Normally participation doesn't matter, but I think that TLS truism assumes you're not refusing to answer every cold call.


Yea, true.

At least try to download some premade briefs of something. Read that before class. You'll sounds like an idiot, but an idiot that at least knows whats coming.

And this is coming from a guy who didn't know what Mens Rea was in early April of Crim Law. Damn my section had a field day with that.

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Dany
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Dany » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:33 pm

Desert Fox wrote:And this is coming from a guy who didn't know what Mens Rea was in early April of Crim Law. Damn my section had a field day with that.

:lol:

I definitely had several cold calls of a similar nature.

09042014
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby 09042014 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:37 pm

Dany wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:And this is coming from a guy who didn't know what Mens Rea was in early April of Crim Law. Damn my section had a field day with that.

:lol:

I definitely had several cold calls of a similar nature.


It wasn't even a true cold call. We knew which day we were supposed to be on. So I read for that day. So the prof asked like 5 questions, short response. I knew the first 3 which were from the reading, but then didn't understand any of the big picture stuff.

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YYZ
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby YYZ » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:51 pm

IHeartPhilly wrote:1L in waiting, start monday. I'm under the impression that traditional briefing is a time sink, but reading every assigned case is not. An effective "brief" is one that extracts the legal rule from assigned cases, while abandoning the other traditional brief elements b/c they're a bit superfluous. Obviously theres debate as to which is the best way to brief. I can't imagine the traditional briefing method would be effective in preparing for the final. Do any 2Ls/3Ls advocate traditional briefing?


I think briefing cases is an exercise to help you prepare in case you're called on in class. The formality you use in preparing a brief is up to you. You can write notes in the margin of the to prepare a brief and be just fine.

During class, I recommend that you create a new brief in your lecture notes based on how the prof presents the case. Based on the prof's socratic method, you'll get the facts, procedural posture, issue, rule, holding, policy concerns, court reasoning, etc. Use this brief for your final (i.e. as part of your outline). There should be almost no reason to look back at the brief you prepared prior to class.

sknight323
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby sknight323 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:30 am

I just disagree on not reading the cases. If you know each case from the class inside and out you're going to get a B+ to an A assuming you can write. And suggesting to not pay attention in class is ludicrous. I'm sorry but your advice is horrible for the average law school student. Every torts class is going to be different. My torts prof was big on medical malpractice stuff, so knowing about different standards of care in medicine was huge, and I don't think the E&E even covered that. If it did, it certainly was not in depth enough for our class. The only way you could gain an understanding adequate to get even a median grade on our torts exam was to either pay attention in class or read the cases.

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ilovesf
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby ilovesf » Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:28 am

sknight323 wrote:I just disagree on not reading the cases. If you know each case from the class inside and out you're going to get a B+ to an A assuming you can write. And suggesting to not pay attention in class is ludicrous. I'm sorry but your advice is horrible for the average law school student. Every torts class is going to be different. My torts prof was big on medical malpractice stuff, so knowing about different standards of care in medicine was huge, and I don't think the E&E even covered that. If it did, it certainly was not in depth enough for our class. The only way you could gain an understanding adequate to get even a median grade on our torts exam was to either pay attention in class or read the cases.

im too lazy to rad all of this, but is someone reall saying dont read all o the cases? this is so retarded. some professors get off on requiring case cites in exams.

advice on how to study for an exam is so professor specific. tls won't help you. talking to 2Ls who had those professors will.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Bildungsroman » Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:41 am

Lol at using a "pass" every time. I didn't have a single 1L class that even let people pass.

The rest of the advice is equally bad.

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azbio
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby azbio » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:42 am

advice on how to study for an exam is so professor specific. tls won't help you. talking to 2Ls who had those professors will.


This.

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Dany
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Dany » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:47 am

Bildungsroman wrote:Lol at using a "pass" every time. I didn't have a single 1L class that even let people pass.

The rest of the advice is equally bad.

Technically all of them let you pass if you just refuse to answer the question.

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Bronte
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Re: Time-Saving Tips for 1L's

Postby Bronte » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:13 am

Dany wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:Lol at using a "pass" every time. I didn't have a single 1L class that even let people pass.

The rest of the advice is equally bad.

Technically all of them let you pass if you just refuse to answer the question.


So are you of the opinion that a professor does not have the power to ding you for participation reasons? I think you're trippin if you think a professor who has told the class "no passes" is just going to roll over if you try to pass every time she calls on you.

I had a professor that said "no passes" at the beginning of the semester, and one day a girl tried to take a pass. He flipped shit and, of course, cold called her again the next day. If she had said "pass" again, do you think the professor would have just said, "Oh, well, TLS says participation doesn't matter, so I guess there's nothing I can do here"?




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