ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:48 pm

You know, just because it’s on TLS doesn't mean it’s automatically good advice. Frankly, I see a ton of crap from "experts" here all the time, but I don't have 45000 posts so what do I know? I see this crap repeatedly - "briefing is stupid," "BLL is all that matters," "why read cases."

Bullshit I say. Briefing is GREAT - for new students. (edit: Just saw the immediately prior post - I wonder this too - if you're not briefing early on, what are you doing with your time that is so much better?) I briefed in full for a while, and then learned to book brief, and I aced everything first semester. Yeah yeah, anecdotes don't prove anything, but that is all you have here - a collection of anecdotes from well meaning individuals who want to help. Maybe they do have the secret, or maybe they had intangibles that helped them excel that some study guide can never get across. But there is a reason your law school stresses briefing early on - it is a good learning tool, and it works.

Once you've briefed for awhile, you'll learn how to do it quicker, briefer, then do book briefs (just note where the facts, issue, rule discussion is, and try to ID key points) - but you need to go through the learning evolution, there just aren't short cuts around, you know, learning how to interpret judicial opinions. As a new student, you DO NOT KNOW HOW TO READ A CASE. Briefing teaches you. It isn't stupid. It's a valuable tool.

And I keep seeing "BLL only, right?" type posts. Knowing how to define "transferred intent" doesn't tell you how to find it in the facts. I mean, there was a post here recently asking if it is a good idea to not read the cases and focus on BLL - wtf??? It’s law school - it revolves around reading cases during 1L year!!!!!

You will not be able to ID issues on an exam if you do not recognize fact patterns. And you will not recognize fact patterns if you do not read and understand many cases containing varied fact patterns.

The facts are not surplus: Facts + BLL = holding.

You have to think like a judge on a conventional law school exam. You reason from precedent - precedent IS NOT only BLL, it is also prior fact patterns. You DO get points for saying, "unlike the defendant in the case where the kid threw a rock intending the scare his friend but instead hit some other kid in the eye, here the defendant was aiming for the plaintiff and thus transferred intent does not apply."

So, look, TLS is a good resource, but there is no ONE WAY. Taking some "here's how I aced 1L year" post as gospel is just lazy. Read the various views, judge for yourself what you should be doing, then do it. Perhaps success in law school is not only a function of (1) talent/luck and (2) hard work (you simply cannot work too hard in law school, I cannot stress that enough), but perhaps also (3) weeding out terrible advice from the good.

Hey, maybe my advice is terrible, and I don't pretend to have the universal answers for success. But use independent thought and trust your judgment.

I have only one reference I recommend for every 1L - Charles H. Whitebread, The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School. Buy it, read it, love it. Don't let its cheesy title fool you - I attribute much of my success to that book. Had I not read it, I would have missed exam points, no doubt. Once I finished my outlining, I realized I didn't know how the fuck that translates to an exam. That book answers it, and no one in law school actually teaches you that (amazingly). Read it, you'll thank me later. And once you do, maybe you think it sucks, and “Lazy’s” guide (or one of the other respected guides here) is better - great, then run with it.

Good luck.

User avatar
specialsnowflake
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:48 am

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby specialsnowflake » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:01 pm

tagging. i have a strange suspicion that this is going to be me one year from now

User avatar
Law Sauce
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:21 pm

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby Law Sauce » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:21 pm

Alot of people hate on briefing, and I know that I never did it (at least full form), but I also know a lot of law review people who briefed meticulously. What are you supposed to be doing now? You are supposed to be trying to figure out what you are supposed to be doing and what works for you (and what your professor is looking for). Basically, you should be reading your cases, trying to understand them, reading supplements if it feels like it helps, and reading tls to try to figure out what you are supposed to be doing. The whole thing is trying to figure out what you need to do to do well on the exam, most of it comes in your planning at the end. Now your just trying to figure out what your supposed to do. If TLS is confusing you, ignore it for a while til your halfway through the semester.

User avatar
jkpolk
Posts: 896
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:44 am

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby jkpolk » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:29 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:I'm confused because everything seems so easy and straightforward.


I agree- incredibly easy so far. Mostly sophistry.

User avatar
minnbills
Posts: 3153
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby minnbills » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:42 pm

Nova/3riv - relax.

Most of our heads were swimming, at least in my section.

The point of the exercise was to be able to identify the rules and how they changed from case to case, but I don't think many people realized this until the end of class or once we started talking about it.

Part of the problem stems from not knowing the Westlaw formatting. I had a hard time telling what was commentary from editors and what was the actual opinion. That's not a problem we'll have with our textbooks.

I am definitely going to brief for tuesday. This week's classes were just focused on identifying rules, in our actual classes we're going to need to identify procedural posture, facts, and all that stuff that wasn't really necessary for today. I would just make sure you have all the info our handout outlined should be in a brief.


Hope that helps, I'm certainly no expert. If you guys want to PM me feel free

User avatar
spleenworship
Posts: 4421
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:08 pm

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby spleenworship » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:52 pm

Nova wrote: What would be a better use of my time??



--ImageRemoved--

Seriously y'all. Just relax. Just keep swimming and eventually your head will get above water (when you figure out what works for you).

User avatar
spleenworship
Posts: 4421
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:08 pm

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby spleenworship » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:56 pm

polkij333 wrote:
InGoodFaith wrote:I'm confused because everything seems so easy and straightforward.


I agree- incredibly easy so far. Mostly sophistry.



I remember thinking that.

You have to remember that law school material just isn't that hard to learn... like running, almost anyone can do it.

But... running a marathon at the fastest time you can? That's the challenge, and that's law school. Work on figuring our how you learn and then buckle down with practice tests for the final push of the race at the end of the semester.

User avatar
JusticeHarlan
Posts: 1434
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:56 pm

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby JusticeHarlan » Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:26 pm

Nova wrote:My question is, which rules matter? today, six cases all had to do with invasion of privacy. They ranged from 1975 to like 2010. They were all fairly consistant. But what happens when they arent? Just pay attention to the most recent? Just pay attention to the most recent s ct case? What about rules from cts in other states? How does it all fit together for exam answers?

Would it be like "The Wisc s ct says blah blah blah. Application. Analysis. Conversly, the Minn s ct says blah blah blah. Application. Analysis." ??

Short answer: pretty much write that, yeah.

Long answer: The exact way you attack it will depend on the kind of discrepancy, but at the end of the day the job is to rack up as many points as you can for each issue. Scribe does a good job breaking things down here.

Essentially, what you're describing is a classic "fork" they discuss in Getting to Maybe. Worth the read if you can pick it up, it walks through the basic idea of how to extract the most analysis (and therefore points) out of an issue by realizing that the issue can be attacked in different ways.

If it's multiple jurisdictions doing things differently, then (unless the exam prompt specifies a jurisdiction; most won't) do what you wrote: explain how the result differs under each permutation of the rule. A split like this will be more common in classes that do state common law (property, torts, contracts, crim).

Alternatively, you may get cases where the doctrine is just totally a mess. This will more likely be the situation in classes like Con and Civ Pro, where the court has a muddled doctrine. Maybe it's an Erie Doctrine problem and you're not sure if you should apply the Byrd test or the Hannah test because Gaperini had elements of both. So, write just that: "It's unclear which test the court would apply in this situation, based on the split approach from Gasparini. If they apply the Byrd test, x y z. If they apply the Hannah test, a b c." Grab on to how your professor described the situation and frame it in that way, highlighting the ambiguities that the court left in it's caselaw.

Sometimes you'll get a constantly evolving doctrine, like Commerce Clause or personal jurisdiction or something. You'll want to apply the cases that are most recent, and most similar, and draw on the changes in the law and the policy behind them as you go. Again, the goal is to grab the most points by writing the most complete answer.

As always, different professors like different approaches, so do your diligence and talk to 2/3Ls who had the prof before.


Also, I always hear that breifing is SUCH a time sink. Is it really?? it doesnt seem like it would take too long to write up case name, ct, yr, facts, rules, opinion, conclusion, and any other additional analysis. What would be a better use of my time??

I do this, even as a 3L. Doesn't take much time and it really teaches you the law.

Kind
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:17 pm

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby Kind » Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:15 pm

Nova wrote:My question is, which rules matter? today, six cases all had to do with invasion of privacy. They ranged from 1975 to like 2010. They were all fairly consistant. But what happens when they arent? Just pay attention to the most recent? Just pay attention to the most recent s ct case? What about rules from cts in other states? How does it all fit together for exam answers?

Would it be like "The Wisc s ct says blah blah blah. Application. Analysis. Conversly, the Minn s ct says blah blah blah. Application. Analysis." ??


All rules count: There is a 'law split' (one jurisdiction has a rule, the other has a different rule/result) between Wi and Minn in your hypo. On the exam, you will write, for example: The majority of states follow Wi and hold that blah blah blah, while a strong minority follow the Minnesota approach and hold yada yada..... yada. And then: But the best reasoned outcome is: (quote your prof verbatim)

The invasion (IOP) might have differences in damages or some other nuances regarding minoir facts.
Also, pay close attention to damages in Torts and remedies in K.

All professors appreciate prepared students (those who have read the cases) attention to detail and application of law to facts. Critical analysis. Hard work anf determination. Motivated students who are eager to learn.... yada yada yada...

All of law is fact driven and fact dependant. Knowing which specific law applies is knowing which facts require it.

To spot issues is to spot operative facts... That is a skill you will need on exams.

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby Nova » Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:31 pm

Thanks, everyone. This thread has given me a lot of perspective.

User avatar
shredderrrrrr
Posts: 4673
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:36 am

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby shredderrrrrr » Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:28 pm

I feel you OP. I'm just struggling knowing what to focus on while taking notes in class/briefing cases. Then again, when I look back to UG, I had the same problem and it was solved a month or two in.

LOLyer
Posts: 134
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby LOLyer » Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:20 pm

polkij333 wrote:
InGoodFaith wrote:I'm confused because everything seems so easy and straightforward.


I agree- incredibly easy so far. Mostly sophistry.


There are only a few concepts in law school that can seriously be classified as "difficult." The main obstacle is the sheer volume of information. Trust me, you'll fully appreciate how much material you've covered this semester when exams roll around.

User avatar
shredderrrrrr
Posts: 4673
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:36 am

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby shredderrrrrr » Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:32 pm

Why does TLS recommend to wait until Thanksgiving to outline? Doesn't it make more sense to do it as you go along so you can use that time to review and not be stressed about getting outlines done?

I've read some people say not to outline early because you don't know what to put, but aren't some things obvious? As in just following the format of the syllabus/table of contents and inserting what the professor stresses?

nonprofit-prophet
Posts: 844
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:10 am

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby nonprofit-prophet » Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:37 pm

shredderrrrrr wrote:Why does TLS recommend to wait until Thanksgiving to outline? Doesn't it make more sense to do it as you go along so you can use that time to review and not be stressed about getting outlines done?

I've read some people say not to outline early because you don't know what to put, but aren't some things obvious? As in just following the format of the syllabus/table of contents and inserting what the professor stresses?


The point of making an outline isn't to have an outline. If you're using it on the exam, you're already screwed. The point is the process. Sure there are easy/obvious things to put in. However, the process of thinking about the material as a whole is incredibly rewarding. I distinctly recall gaining some deep insights (that I used on my exam) while outlining some super easy material from the beginning of the semester, because I thought about it in context with the later material. A lot of law school classes can't be taught in a linear/chronological fashion (except within concepts. i.e. case lines). This is especially true for torts. Even though breach was the first thing we learned, I understood it SO much better after outlining it with knowledge of all major aspects of Negligence.

Edit: i should say that I do not advocate waiting until thanksgiving. Start outlining 5 weeks before exams and go all in on each class for 1.5 weeks. I like to focus on one class at a time to get deeper insights. you immerse yourself in a single class and good things happen.

User avatar
noleknight16
Posts: 943
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:09 am

Re: ughhh... what am i supposed to be doing

Postby noleknight16 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:36 pm

Great thread. As a 1L I cannot say enough how much this site is helping me.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests