What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

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1l2016
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What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby 1l2016 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:30 pm

Hey guys/ladies, thanks in advance for your insight. And sorry in advance if this is wordy. This site has really been a huge help for me in the admissions process. I'm a current 1L and I just started my 3rd week of law school. So far I'm actually really enjoying the cases we've read, my classmates, and my profs, but I also feel lost at times. I'v read all of the guides on here (which were really helpful) and I am constantly just thinking about how what I learn can be applied on the exam. That's where I feel lost. I have no clue what I should be taking away from cases in particular. In property for example, we've gone over cases from all different jurisdictions, states, etc. What exactly should I be taking away that I need to know for the exam. For example, we've gone over the law of capture in Eliff v. Texon Drilling Co. and they reference diff rules in Texas and Louisiana. What's the takeaway from a case like this? Do I need to know the final rule in that case? Or do I need to know all of the rules that lead to that ruling? What about the rules the dissent references in their opinion (my prof goes over the dissent pretty thoroughly) Also, what in the world goes in an outline? I feel like we've gone over a bunch of cases and very little of what we've gone over is anything concrete I can imagine being tested on. Thanks!

tlsfan545
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby tlsfan545 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:44 pm

To answer your first question(s) - Say you run into an issue on the exam involving capture and the prompt doesn't specify which jurisdiction the issue is arising in or any statutes or cases to follow. Your analysis of the issue would be something along the lines of "If the court follows the rule of Eliff, then the result would be X. If the court follows the law of Texas, the result would be Y. If the court follows the law of Louisiana, the result would be Z. The court could also be persuaded by the dissent in Eliff, and in that case the result would be A."

Obviously worded better than that, but you get the idea. Basically (at least for exams I've had), an easy way to get points on exams is to note that the result could be different depending on what law the court follows and explain why that is the case. You wouldn't necessarily have to fully expand your analysis on each one if you don't have time on the exam, though I'd recommend at least expanding on what would happen if they followed the case you discussed or any other highly persuasive/followed precedent.
Last edited by tlsfan545 on Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nelson
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby Nelson » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:45 pm

1l2016 wrote:Hey guys/ladies, thanks in advance for your insight. And sorry in advance if this is wordy. This site has really been a huge help for me in the admissions process. I'm a current 1L and I just started my 3rd week of law school. So far I'm actually really enjoying the cases we've read, my classmates, and my profs, but I also feel lost at times. I'v read all of the guides on here (which were really helpful) and I am constantly just thinking about how what I learn can be applied on the exam. That's where I feel lost. I have no clue what I should be taking away from cases in particular. In property for example, we've gone over cases from all different jurisdictions, states, etc. What exactly should I be taking away that I need to know for the exam. For example, we've gone over the law of capture in Eliff v. Texon Drilling Co. and they reference diff rules in Texas and Louisiana. What's the takeaway from a case like this? Do I need to know the final rule in that case? Or do I need to know all of the rules that lead to that ruling? What about the rules the dissent references in their opinion (my prof goes over the dissent pretty thoroughly) Also, what in the world goes in an outline? I feel like we've gone over a bunch of cases and very little of what we've gone over is anything concrete I can imagine being tested on. Thanks!

Office hours.

Gorki
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby Gorki » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:26 pm

tlsfan545 wrote:To answer your first question(s) - Say you run into an issue on the exam involving capture and the prompt doesn't specify which jurisdiction the issue is arising in or any statutes or cases to follow. Your analysis of the issue would be something along the lines of "If the court follows the rule of Eliff, then the result would be X. If the court follows the law of Texas, the result would be Y. If the court follows the law of Louisiana, the result would be Z. The court could also be persuaded by the dissent in Eliff, and in that case the result would be A."

Obviously worded better than that, but you get the idea. Basically (at least for exams I've had), an easy way to get points on exams is to note that the result could be different depending on what law the court follows and explain why that is the case. You wouldn't necessarily have to fully expand your analysis on each one if you don't have time on the exam, though I'd recommend at least expanding on what would happen if they followed the case you discussed or any other highly persuasive/followed precedent.


I think I remember the case, its about mineral rights correct? The majority is the majority rule, the dissent is the minority rule. On an exam you would say "If this judge uses majority rule, XYZ probably happens / If judge uses minority rule, ABC probably happens"

At my school we actually had an oil&gas question on the final, so it was somewhat important to know, but in others its more or less used as the basic precept kind of case.

Go to office hours if you need to, but this just sounds like the normal feelings of an engaged law student 3 weeks into 1L.

Best of luck, and hope others can chime in.

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thesealocust
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby thesealocust » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:00 pm

Just let yourself be lost for a while.

Eventually, get copies of outlines for your classes (ideally from people who had the profs before) and see what they do. The more cases you go through, the easier it will be to see what you actually need to be learning. Look at a copy of a practice exam or two (even if not from your prof or even school) and look at what you'll be expected to do come exam time.

Generally speaking, you're looking for a gigantic list of rules that sometimes relate and sometimes don't. Some cases will be very important and their reasoning will be integral to the rule, some will be examples of rules, some will be exceptions to rules, some will be historical precedents to rules, some will just provide historical background to the doctrine but not really have relevant rules, some will be recent cases just for the profs / your interest, etc. Dissents almost never matter, even in con law, for the exam - but they're fun exercises for the prof and useful for learning to Think Like a Lawyer(TM).

But it's quite early to have any sense of anything, and there's not much you can do besides continuing to muddle through it all.

1l2016
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby 1l2016 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:18 pm

Thanks everyone for the responses! Definitely reassuring to hear your guys' input. I'm still a bit unclear about what rules I have to know. Some cases will reference a bunch of similar cases as a basis for their reasoning that eventually shapes the court's opinion. Should I know all of these rules, or is it the final rule that is really important. I feel like I'm actually understanding the material when we review it in class, but I didn't expect law school to be so ambiguous, and I'm trying to figure out what the law actually is, particularly for the exam.

Gorki wrote:
tlsfan545 wrote:To answer your first question(s) - Say you run into an issue on the exam involving capture and the prompt doesn't specify which jurisdiction the issue is arising in or any statutes or cases to follow. Your analysis of the issue would be something along the lines of "If the court follows the rule of Eliff, then the result would be X. If the court follows the law of Texas, the result would be Y. If the court follows the law of Louisiana, the result would be Z. The court could also be persuaded by the dissent in Eliff, and in that case the result would be A."

Obviously worded better than that, but you get the idea. Basically (at least for exams I've had), an easy way to get points on exams is to note that the result could be different depending on what law the court follows and explain why that is the case. You wouldn't necessarily have to fully expand your analysis on each one if you don't have time on the exam, though I'd recommend at least expanding on what would happen if they followed the case you discussed or any other highly persuasive/followed precedent.


I think I remember the case, its about mineral rights correct? The majority is the majority rule, the dissent is the minority rule. On an exam you would say "If this judge uses majority rule, XYZ probably happens / If judge uses minority rule, ABC probably happens"

At my school we actually had an oil&gas question on the final, so it was somewhat important to know, but in others its more or less used as the basic precept kind of case.

Go to office hours if you need to, but this just sounds like the normal feelings of an engaged law student 3 weeks into 1L.

Best of luck, and hope others can chime in.


Thanks for the input! Yep, that's the case. I feel like there's so many rules in that case, and most others in property, and I feel like I get it, but I still feel lost about what I need to know.

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thesealocust
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby thesealocust » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:19 pm

Read Getting to Maybe immediately.

1l2016
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby 1l2016 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:21 pm

tlsfan545 wrote:To answer your first question(s) - Say you run into an issue on the exam involving capture and the prompt doesn't specify which jurisdiction the issue is arising in or any statutes or cases to follow. Your analysis of the issue would be something along the lines of "If the court follows the rule of Eliff, then the result would be X. If the court follows the law of Texas, the result would be Y. If the court follows the law of Louisiana, the result would be Z. The court could also be persuaded by the dissent in Eliff, and in that case the result would be A."

Obviously worded better than that, but you get the idea. Basically (at least for exams I've had), an easy way to get points on exams is to note that the result could be different depending on what law the court follows and explain why that is the case. You wouldn't necessarily have to fully expand your analysis on each one if you don't have time on the exam, though I'd recommend at least expanding on what would happen if they followed the case you discussed or any other highly persuasive/followed precedent.


So in order to really address the bolded, I need to know all of the rules in the opinion whether or not it ultimately influences the final rule or not?

1l2016
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby 1l2016 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:25 pm

thesealocust wrote:Read Getting to Maybe immediately.


Thanks for your above input, i definitely appreciate it! I actually read Getting to Maybe in the summer, which is why I'm really trying to focus on what rules I need to know in these cases. I can actually understand ways to see forks in the laws and facts in the rules we're learning, but I guess I don't know exactly what rules are really important and which ones aren't. Should I just be writing down all rules that get referenced and then sort through them as the semester progresses?

dkb17xzx
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby dkb17xzx » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:46 pm

Not to threadjack....but on the same topic:

what and how exactly should I be studying? Read the case, get the rule and reasoning, and then what ______? This might seem dumb but the success guides all had people studying 4-8 hours (this was on weekdays; many would finish their readings over the weekend). What is it exactly that you are doing during this time? Supplements?

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Nelson
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby Nelson » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:50 pm

dkb17xzx wrote:the success guides all had people studying 4-8 hours

Which is completely unnecessary. If you get it, then relax. There will be plenty of cramming later in the semester. You really can't front load your first semester that much.

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thesealocust
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby thesealocust » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:52 pm

There isn't much to do early in the semester. You should be picking up the major rules, but sometimes a case will be an example of the opposite of the rule you're actually learning. You should be learning the rules of the cases you study thoroughly in class and be prepared to analyze fact patterns which implicate those rules.

There's no silver bullet do-this-for-this-many-hours-then-clerk-for-SCOTUS tip. The guides on TLS cover it in excruciating detail, but you just have to keep doing it to learn how to do it.

You don't have to study for 4-8 hours per day. Just do the reading. Supplements don't hurt but you neither need them nor lots of them. Looking over a section or two to confirm you aren't crazy about what you're getting out of class might be nice, but it's probably too early even for that. If you want to start outlining in a few weeks that may be helpful, but no way you've gone through enough material to get much out of it now - but feel free to spin your wheels.

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Jsa725
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby Jsa725 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:59 pm

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Last edited by Jsa725 on Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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941law
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby 941law » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:44 pm

Do a bunch of multiple choice questions as you go through each topic (although some MC is not divided by specific topics). I say that because it seems you are learning the law, but are worried you are not doing enough - well test yourself. Cali.org too.

1l2016
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby 1l2016 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:48 pm

Jsa725 wrote:
1|2016 wrote:I am constantly just thinking about how what I learn can be applied on the exam


you are in the right place, mentally. you will be fine.


Thanks! I'm definitely trying to keep my eyes on the prize.

941law wrote:Do a bunch of multiple choice questions as you go through each topic (although some MC is not divided by specific topics). I say that because it seems you are learning the law, but are worried you are not doing enough - well test yourself. Cali.org too.


Thanks! Are the MC questions on Cali.org? Sorry if these are newb questions.

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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby Munson » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:53 pm

1l2016 wrote:
So in order to really address the bolded, I need to know all of the rules in the opinion whether or not it ultimately influences the final rule or not?


You should be focused on understanding the reasoning of the case. Why did the court come out like it did? What facts and circumstances were important, and why?

You'll often see that multiple approaches or rationales apply to an area of law. Think about the policy goals of the various approaches and how different rules advance different goals. The most important question is not what the court did, but why.

On the exam, you will have to apply the same kind of legal reasoning to a fact pattern that is similar but critically different from the cases you have read. Many professors put all the issues into one giant fact pattern so that your first task is to identify the similar-but-different issues before you can analyze them. That is an issue-spotter, and you will know them well soon.

There is almost no such thing as black letter law, especially not in the first-year curriculum, so don't waste too much time looking for it. Just work on figuring out the reasoning of the cases. At this point, if you can cogently explain to somebody else what happened in a case and why the court came out how it did, you are doing fine.

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941law
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby 941law » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:07 am

cali.org and MC books off Amazon.com

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LAWYER2
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby LAWYER2 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:33 pm

I haven't read all the responses, however, having a Case-Brief book keyed to my casebook was a phucking savior during the beginning of 1L

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Easy-E
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby Easy-E » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:26 pm

LAWYER2 wrote:I haven't read all the responses, however, having a Case-Brief book keyed to my casebook was a phucking savior during the beginning of 1L


You bought case briefs?

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941law
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby 941law » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:47 pm

case brief book keyed-in is good for classes you are struggling with, like property. It is pointless though in all reality.

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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby Royal » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:23 pm

Image



Get a commercial outline like Glannon to get an idea of what you need to know. Generally, disregard the facts, parties, and (usually) dissents. Write down the rule and think about how it fits into the puzzle. Does it conflict with other rules? If so, is it a minority rule, or is the case law just confused? Is it a new rule that has replaced an old rule? Does it conflict with related rules? Talk about that stuff on the exam. The point is it show that you can (1) identify the issue, (2) discuss the rule(s) , (3) and analyze the facts through that rule. Make a conclusion, but the result is usually not very important. Just do steps 1-3, and talk about the alternative rules and why they're alternative. Build your outline around concepts, and then cases and rules within those concepts.

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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby hichvichwoh » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:26 pm

One thing an upperclassman told me at the start of my 1L year, which I think made a huge difference, was to look at ONE practice exam for each class towards the beginning of the year (about now) just to get an idea of what shows up on the exam and what you should be focusing on in class. It helped me out a lot in focusing my note taking and being efficient with exam prep.

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bsktbll28082
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby bsktbll28082 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:59 pm

Someone mentioned above it's too early to start outlining. My 'Law Skills' prof said the same thing. Is that true? I think for battery/assault I could throw something together. Other advice said to 'outline early.'

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thesealocust
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby thesealocust » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:00 pm

bsktbll28082 wrote:Someone mentioned above it's too early to start outlining. My 'Law Skills' prof said the same thing. Is that true? I think for battery/assault I could throw something together. Other advice said to 'outline early.'


It's too early for it to be useful. You'll be sad if you wait until Thanksgiving, but you're learning so much and getting so much more familiar with the process every day that you'll have a clearer sense of what to do in a few weeks.

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bsktbll28082
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Re: What should I be focusing on? I have no clue what I'm doing

Postby bsktbll28082 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:44 pm

thesealocust wrote:
bsktbll28082 wrote:Someone mentioned above it's too early to start outlining. My 'Law Skills' prof said the same thing. Is that true? I think for battery/assault I could throw something together. Other advice said to 'outline early.'


It's too early for it to be useful. You'll be sad if you wait until Thanksgiving, but you're learning so much and getting so much more familiar with the process every day that you'll have a clearer sense of what to do in a few weeks.


Yeah, there's actually a few things I don't get now. I'll wait a few more weeks.

I have a definition for assault given by the professor ('reasonable apprehension of imminent battery'), but is this different than the prima facie elements? Can I pull prima facie from the definition? Or should I run to the Restatements?




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