If I could do my first semester over again...

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sporkdevil
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby sporkdevil » Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:56 am

This is a great thread I would love to BUMP.

I like reading what most people do, and try and come out with the consensus. As someone about a month away from their first law school class, I find this very helpful. All advice is great to hear.

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underdawg
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby underdawg » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:02 am

bumping the shit out of this thread

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Amira
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Amira » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:54 am

snotrocket wrote:So far, only two things I feel safe in saying I would do again:

* * *

2) Put as much time as you can stand into your legal writing assignments.

* * *

3) Commit two or three hours a week, every week, to a substantial pro-bono or service activity.


I wholeheartedly agree with #2 and #3 and I don't see these two points brought up very often so I wanted to quote them for emphasis. I don't regret a second I spent working on legal writing, even though I skimped on the casebooks for other classes when there was a paper deadline. Legal writing improves your writing organization and your analysis, which are crucial to law exams *and to being a lawyer*. It will probably be the one class that you get feedback in during your entire first semester.

Volunteering is also a great idea. Your school will probably make it very easy to volunteer. You can help other people and at the same time get a bit of real world experience. I definitely had plenty of time to volunteer and study--I probably would have been reading blogs or playing video games with that time anyway.

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General Tso
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby General Tso » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:41 am

What about Lexis Understanding Law School as a summer prep resource?

KentuckyFried
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby KentuckyFried » Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:15 am

thanks

markakis
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby markakis » Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:23 am

bump. sorry

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steve_nash
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby steve_nash » Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:45 am

swheat wrote:What about Lexis Understanding Law School as a summer prep resource?


I've glanced at this and read parts of it. It's not bad--preferable certainly to reading an entire E&E over the summer--but I wouldn't buy it. I think I received better information on this board.

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bwv812
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby bwv812 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:15 pm

.
Last edited by bwv812 on Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sugarcat
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby sugarcat » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:21 pm

For everyone who stresses the importance of obtaining old outlines/notes/exams from specific professors -- where do you get these? Do you have to hunt down 2Ls and 3Ls and ask for them (not completely comfortable with the idea of this), or are they made available to 1Ls some other way?
Last edited by sugarcat on Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

surenough
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby surenough » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:16 pm

sugarcat wrote:For everyone who stresses the importance of obtaining old outlines/notes/exams from specific professors -- where you get these? Do you have to hunt down 2Ls and 3Ls and ask for them (not completely comfortable with the idea of this), or are they made available to 1Ls some other way?


Although you can easily buy them online, I am not a fan of old outlines and never needed one. If you went to class and took notes and really went through the material, you will have the same information as anyone else who took the class (prior or current years). An outline is a way to organize the information in a way that allows you to get the information fastest. That is simply a matter of style, and clearly you will have a much easier time looking things up on something you made. Speed is very important. You can bring your outline to an exam, but you will not have time to read it. Also, most law school exams are issue spotters where you are given a set of facts (basically a story), where you are asked to apply what you learned in class to the issue spotter. Meanwhile an average student will pick up the central issues, the best student can look at the problem from all sides and argue in the most efficient and creative way about all the issues. That is not something you learn from an old outline. Finally, it is not smart to rely on an outline when you don't know the grade of the person who made it. If they did average in the class, it is probably not wise to copy them.

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redsox8105
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby redsox8105 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:44 pm

I'm pretty sure that you can get most outlines and old exams from the Registrar or the library, but I'm just a 0L.

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steve_nash
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby steve_nash » Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:06 pm

sugarcat wrote:For everyone who stresses the importance of obtaining old outlines/notes/exams from specific professors -- where you get these? Do you have to hunt down 2Ls and 3Ls and ask for them (not completely comfortable with the idea of this), or are they made available to 1Ls some other way?


I do not consider myself a terribly outgoing person. However, when grades are at issue, I will do what it takes, and yes, I have hunted down 2 and 3Ls to ask for outlines and advice about a professor. I have not regretted it, because I would not have gotten some valuable information otherwise. Generally, they've all been pretty nice about it.
Some of my friends get old outlines from student groups. Our library has a database where we can go and download old exams and outlines.

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sugarcat
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby sugarcat » Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:56 pm

surenough, redsox and steve_nash - thanks for the very useful information.

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BradyToMoss
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby BradyToMoss » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:22 pm

sugarcat wrote:For everyone who stresses the importance of obtaining old outlines/notes/exams from specific professors -- where you get these? Do you have to hunt down 2Ls and 3Ls and ask for them (not completely comfortable with the idea of this), or are they made available to 1Ls some other way?


Send everything you can get your hands on to your friends and peers who you are friendly with... it won't hurt you and eventually you'll get something in return that works for every class. 2Ls and 3Ls can be a great resource if you get to know them well, but will probably not help you out all that much unless you know them well. The outlines should be floating everywhere, by sending anything I got to a bunch of people I eventually ended up with solid old outlines for every professor (even a couple who had never taught at the school before).

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Son of Cicero
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Son of Cicero » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:26 pm

I try to get a good outline wherever I can find one at the beginning of the semester...ILRG.org, journal databases, boalt.org, from my azn friends in APALSA, etc. I'm bad at organizing things visually, so I like getting a basic layout from others. I look through each section before we study the corresponding material in class, and then revise the outline using class notes and my own observations from the reading. My biggest advice to 1Ls is not to waste a ton of time outlining if you have a good memory. Books such as Law School Confidential and Getting to Maybe made me think that I would be doomed if I didn't type up my own outlines from scratch, which led me to stress more over my inadequate outlines in November than over the actual exams.

I think it is best to read the cases closely the first time and write in a lot of marginal notes, browse through an old outline a few times so you refresh your memory near the end of the semester, add flags to mark off each section so you can flip through this outline quickly when you need a rule during the test, and have an attack outline where you add a bullet point for each mini-issue that you sometimes forget to include in your test answers. Making a big project out of an outline is only helpful for some people, and I realized after experiencing a lot of unnecessary outline-related anxiety during the first semester that I'm not one of them.

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BradyToMoss
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby BradyToMoss » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:42 pm

Son of Cicero wrote:I try to get a good outline wherever I can find one at the beginning of the semester...ILRG.org, journal databases, boalt.org, from my azn friends in APALSA, etc. I'm bad at organizing things visually, so I like getting a basic layout from others. I look through each section before we study the corresponding material in class, and then revise the outline using class notes and my own observations from the reading. My biggest advice to 1Ls is not to waste a ton of time outlining if you have a good memory. Books such as Law School Confidential and Getting to Maybe made me think that I would be doomed if I didn't type up my own outlines from scratch, which led me to stress more over my inadequate outlines in November than over the actual exams.

I think it is best to read the cases closely the first time and write in a lot of marginal notes, browse through an old outline a few times so you refresh your memory near the end of the semester, add flags to mark off each section so you can flip through this outline quickly when you need a rule during the test, and have an attack outline where you add a bullet point for each mini-issue that you sometimes forget to include in your test answers. Making a big project out of an outline is only helpful for some people, and I realized after experiencing a lot of unnecessary outline-related anxiety during the first semester that I'm not one of them.


I got a few great ones that were from APALSA.

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JPeavy44
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby JPeavy44 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:23 pm

Son of Cicero wrote:I try to get a good outline wherever I can find one at the beginning of the semester...ILRG.org, journal databases, boalt.org, from my azn friends in APALSA, etc. I'm bad at organizing things visually, so I like getting a basic layout from others. I look through each section before we study the corresponding material in class, and then revise the outline using class notes and my own observations from the reading. My biggest advice to 1Ls is not to waste a ton of time outlining if you have a good memory. Books such as Law School Confidential and Getting to Maybe made me think that I would be doomed if I didn't type up my own outlines from scratch, which led me to stress more over my inadequate outlines in November than over the actual exams.

I think it is best to read the cases closely the first time and write in a lot of marginal notes, browse through an old outline a few times so you refresh your memory near the end of the semester, add flags to mark off each section so you can flip through this outline quickly when you need a rule during the test, and have an attack outline where you add a bullet point for each mini-issue that you sometimes forget to include in your test answers. Making a big project out of an outline is only helpful for some people, and I realized after experiencing a lot of unnecessary outline-related anxiety during the first semester that I'm not one of them.


So you didn't make a whole new outline on your own? You just added to the existing ones?

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Son of Cicero
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Son of Cicero » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:26 pm

Yeah. If you find a format that looks good to you and the outline seems to hit the important points, I see nothing wrong with just editing it to include things you think are missing, provided you don't use it as a substitute for actually reading the book.

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JPeavy44
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby JPeavy44 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:46 pm

I have a question about E&E's/other supplements, how are they structured? Are we supposed to read them along with the reading that we are currently doing? Or are they something we should read toward the end? I know there's not one way to do it, but what worked for you and why?

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Son of Cicero
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Son of Cicero » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:53 pm

I like going through E&Es at the end. I'm already familiar with the basic material from the cases/lectures, so the E&E questions help me to refresh my memory of what I've learned while also allowing me to pick up tips on how to gain some flexibility in working with a certain issue right before the test. If I did this earlier in the semester, the nuances would become too fuzzy come exam time.

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underdawg
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby underdawg » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:54 pm

BradyToMoss wrote:
Son of Cicero wrote:I try to get a good outline wherever I can find one at the beginning of the semester...ILRG.org, journal databases, boalt.org, from my azn friends in APALSA, etc. I'm bad at organizing things visually, so I like getting a basic layout from others. I look through each section before we study the corresponding material in class, and then revise the outline using class notes and my own observations from the reading. My biggest advice to 1Ls is not to waste a ton of time outlining if you have a good memory. Books such as Law School Confidential and Getting to Maybe made me think that I would be doomed if I didn't type up my own outlines from scratch, which led me to stress more over my inadequate outlines in November than over the actual exams.

I think it is best to read the cases closely the first time and write in a lot of marginal notes, browse through an old outline a few times so you refresh your memory near the end of the semester, add flags to mark off each section so you can flip through this outline quickly when you need a rule during the test, and have an attack outline where you add a bullet point for each mini-issue that you sometimes forget to include in your test answers. Making a big project out of an outline is only helpful for some people, and I realized after experiencing a lot of unnecessary outline-related anxiety during the first semester that I'm not one of them.


I got a few great ones that were from APALSA.

i liked the LALSA ones

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JPeavy44
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby JPeavy44 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:56 pm

Son of Cicero wrote:I like going through E&Es at the end. I'm already familiar with the basic material from the cases/lectures, so the E&E questions help me to refresh my memory of what I've learned while also allowing me to pick up tips on how to gain some flexibility in working with a certain issue right before the test. If I did this earlier in the semester, the nuances would become too fuzzy come exam time.


Sweet ok thanks

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ZXCVBNM
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby ZXCVBNM » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:34 am

.

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Jay Phatsby
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby Jay Phatsby » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:39 am

great thread

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edcrane
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Re: If I could do my first semester over again...

Postby edcrane » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:32 am

I would have done exactly what I did in the second semester.

During the second semester I didn't refer to any supplements and didn't brief any cases. During the first half of the semester I did very little work outside of reading cases. During the second half of the second semester, I put a decent amount of time into outlining. Based on the syllabuses, I produced big hearty 40+ page outlines that I later distilled into 15-20 page outlines and 2 page ultra-condensed charts of the law. For the classes that involved policy, I also spent some time finding (on lexis) and outlining major policy points.

Before the exams, I did a lot of practice tests and tried to discern the best format for each professor. One professor wanted extremely mechanical answers, so I produced well organized but boring IRAC answers. Another had given us sample answers that were extremely concise and had a sort of practical tone. I mimicked this format and tone, writing what was likely one of the shortest exam answers in the class. Finally, one had emphasized in class that we should stick to the obvious stuff she was attempting to elicit with each prompt. I did precisely that, attempting to differentiate my exam on the basis of policy answers rather than breadth of legal analysis.

Result: GPA > 4.0.




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