After Grades - What did we learn?

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bobjr
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby bobjr » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:01 pm

The absolute best thing I did last semester was make a short outline (keeping amount of text to a minimum, and less than 10 pages) that laid out the rules/standards in black, and then listed one or two cases in blue in no more than a line underneath, with a giant table of contents on the first page. I only did it for one class, but will definitely be doing it for any that have open book finals this semester.

I think the best study method is to try and distill the rules that were in your readings and that the prof cares about, and to completely separate them from any case references. Get the rules sorted out so that they are clear (as clear as they can be), and then go ahead and plug relevant cases back into your outline. Use the cases only as reference points you can use to show where the rules/standards are ambiguous; don't use the cases to remember/cite the rules themselves.

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Wahoo1L
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby Wahoo1L » Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:06 pm

Ali wrote: Ah...I take it that's not a good thing?


It's probably not useful. If you want to do something useful in preparation for your 1L year you should do three things [In my opinion]:
1. Reading Getting to Maybe, MAYBE read some other law school book like PLS or Law School Confidential (I only read Getting to Maybe and finished with a GPA probably around the Top 5-7%]
2. Get everything ready for the 1L job search such as cover letters, resume, ect. and be ready to send this stuff out on Dec. 1 (I didn't do this but I would assume it would be helpful. During November when you're allowed to talk to Career Services you'll be busy with outlining and you'll have wish you had done this earlier)
3. Relax. You're probably not going to learn anything that will be useful on the exam prior to law school so don't worry.

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TTT-LS
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby TTT-LS » Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:34 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ali
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby Ali » Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:43 pm

Wahoo-1L and TTT-LS,

Thanks for the tips and suggestions.

tiesto82
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby tiesto82 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:05 pm

Civil Procedure: A (CALI)

Civ Pro was by far my favorite class. I simply read every case twice (I don't brief and do not recommend this approach) and make notes in the margins. Took 3 days and made an 85 page outline and then never looked at it again. After outlining I read the E&E book and answered classmates questions on the webcourses page to help me apply the material. Also memorized the format of the previous year's A answer and did not deviate from it at all on test day

Criminal Law: A-

Took three days to make an outline and then read the Understanding Crim Law (LexisNexis series). Once again memorized the format of the A test from the previous year

Torts: B

Killer exam and not typical either. Dropped my GPA from a 3.84 to a 3.60. Was an issue spotting exam which required little to no legal analysis. I did too much IRAC and not enough policy discussion and brain dumping. If you get a teacher whom gives an issue spotting torts test I would highly recommend switching sections. Additionally, if you have an issue spotting test do not use the approach recommended in the Glannon E&E book. I applied these concepts to a T on the exam and after numerous discussions with the Professor, we concluded that this is where I went wrong. Also I could not get ahold of the A test from the previous year

Legal Writing I: A-

Start the papers (briefs/memos) early and utilize the professor as much as possible. Rewriting a number of times will improve your grades tremendously

tiesto82
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby tiesto82 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:15 pm

dinolove wrote:My grades weren't as good as others' on this board; turns out my Columbia classmates are pretty brilliant after all ;) But I think my grades and studying patterns are a good lesson of what to do/not do, so here goes...

Contracts: A-. Loved my professor to death; favorite class. Professor wrote the casebook, and in class went through hypotheticals that were almost exactly what showed up on the exam. I read the casebook carefully, wrote every word he said, read the Farnsworth hornbook when I got confused, and took a lot of practice tests.

Torts: B+. Looking at the grade distribution ex post, I literally would have gotten an A- if I had brought my textbook to class [a statute tested on the exam was missing from my outline/class notes, and I wasted 20 minutes trying to come up with a substitute, which ended up being wrong]. Lesson: TAKE ALL ALLOWED MATERIALS INTO THE EXAM!!!! Besides that, knew the subject cold, used Understanding Torts. I didn't use the dobbs hornbook, but wish I had.

Civ Pro: B+. hated my professor. didn't open my casebook. was generally bitter about the subject and it showed on my exam.

LESSONS: I know of two types of people did well. There were the absurdly annoying know-it-alls who literally made it their job to make other people feel stupid; these people gave up their whole lives to school. On the other hand, I know a couple of people who worked fairly average amounts, but ended up with straight As. Some people are just going to be incredibly good at law school, and often they are surprised themselves. I worked pretty hard and did everything "right" [hornbooks, LEEWS, etc.] and I still ended up average. At the end of the day, some of it is just luck and plain intelligence.

ALSO: when people say grades aren't everything, they mean it. My grades were around average for Columbia and I don't have an outstanding educational background, and I already have multiple job offers [including law firms.] I really put myself out there in looking for a position. My friends with A's are still unemployed.



"My grades were around average for COLUMBIA"

Well when you are at Columbia grades dont matter much when your school placed 303 summer associates at Vault Top 100 firms which is 80.2% of the class.

The sad fact of the matter is if you are not at a T-14 school (with a great deal of exceptions for T-25's) grades matter ALOT. In fact, going into 2L OCI's they are pretty much all that matters because T-14's have 80 of the Top 100 firms for student's to bid on. Schools below T-50 have maybe 10. Generally, if you at a T-40 or below school and you are not Top10-15% then your chances of being a Big Law 2L summer associate are slim

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nativedelta
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby nativedelta » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:31 pm

My school pegs its curve to a B- (2.8 ). Sucky, right?

I ended up with a 3.2; highest grade A-, lowest grade B. So at least that means I'm above average in everything.

Things I learned:

Study groups are next to worthless for me. I'm very glad I discovered that early in the semester and studied alone for the rest of my time.

I could stand to do more practice exams. That would have given me a bigger edge.

More on exams tends to be better as long as it's focused. The shortest exam I wrote was around the 7,000 word mark.

Discussing policy puts you over the top. Always save time to discuss far-reaching policy considerations.

For a morning exam, no matter what, get to bed before midnight. Extra studying at that point will only push information out of your head. (I had 2 classmates go into some sort of caffeine-induced black hole, and totally blank on a question that we had done practice problems about on the last day of class.)

Chilling out and relaxing about grades doesn't work for me. I have to push like a woman crazed from the first day. Competition works for me; pretending it doesn't just stresses me out more. Embrace the inner gunner.

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Wahoo1L
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby Wahoo1L » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:55 pm

TTT-LS wrote:I agree with Wahoo1L (are you doing Feb Club, btw?). Law Preview is a gigantic waste, esp. when you consider that there are other things you can be doing that are much more useful.


I'm not as dedicated as some, but I've been to a few.

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SteelReserve
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby SteelReserve » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:26 pm

Hey everyone, I've been lurking around here for months now so I figured I owed it to at least register and post here.

Overall this semester I earned a high A- average GPA. I hope this post will present a slightly different view/method for earning good grades that will be helpful to others.

For me, I read the cases all semester long but did not brief them, I just highlighted important parts and commented in the margins. I did not crack my casebook once while studying for exams...literally not once.

I did NOT outline in any way, for any subject. My fellow 1L's looked at me like I had two heads when they'd ask "How's your outlining coming" and I would respond "I'm not outlining." I just knew outlining did not work for me. I borrowed friends' outlines and used commercial sources (E and E for each subject, and the BarBri outlines.)
I found the BarBri outlines EXTREMELY useful because I had all closed book exams and I cannot think of a better layout for memorizing BLL. I credit it entirely for my performance in Torts.
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For CivPro, I went through every single E and E chapter twice, doing the problems twice, which truly helped me master joinder and calculating jurisdiction by way of venue, SMJ and PJ. Glannon is your best friend in civ pro; ignore him at your peril.

Overall, I would do comparatively (I go to a school that is outside Top 14, so many, many people are gunning hard for the top 20% of the class) little work throughout the semester, just trying to make sure I was never completely lost..."staying afloat."

But, in the weeks leading up to finals, I largely said goodbye to friends and family and logged serious hours at the library. Most of these hours were logged in the week leading up to finals and of course in between during reading days.

For me at least, I found that every hour spent during the reading period and through finals week was worth 6 hours spent earlier in the semester. I think that was the key to my success; law school is a slow and steady marathon that builds to a dramatic sprint at the finish. It breaks my heart to see 0Ls reading PLS and skimming E and E's over their summer...I know because I nearly fell for all that nonsense myself.

This strategy helped me earn great grades and a federal judicial internship for the summer. I am very pleased and I intend to rinse and repeat this semester. The key is big picture-thinking; do not overwork yourself during the semester; instead, you want to be able to work 12 hours a day during the finals period. (and I mean WORK 12 hours a day...I didn't do a study group, just ran things by a couple close friends when we had questions for one another).
Finally, for law school etiquette, if you are a gunner...be a closet gunner, because then you are cool and you will get great grades without annoying the hell out of people who are paying a lot of money to be in class. Gunners are annoying people. Some of them have already stopped talking to me because they somehow found out about my internship, which makes me a little sad. Law school can definitely be a very petty place, so I say keep your hard work to yourself, make what friends you can, and focus on BLL, practice tests/hypos. Do not focus on the casebook.

Anyway, that is what I have learned...good luck to everyone for the next semester!

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Arrow
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby Arrow » Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:08 pm

Amen on the closet gunner. On TLS, everyone here is like top of their class, or getting straight A's, or something glamorous. Out in the real word, either shut up, or tell everyone else you get B+/A-'s.

Virility
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby Virility » Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:05 pm

Do you guys really think people will be resentful if you tell them your good grades?

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Wahoo1L
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby Wahoo1L » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:34 pm

Virility wrote:Do you guys really think people will be resentful if you tell them your good grades?


No, but it's kind of arrogant to tell people how well you did, especially when they most likely did not do as well. However, one of my friends at a midwestern T2 told me that it came out who was ranked first after the Fall and there were quite a few people who gave him shit.

bonesinger
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby bonesinger » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:57 pm

if you want to increase your WPM and accurately, do this: http://typera.tk/

just do it.

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SteelReserve
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby SteelReserve » Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:05 pm

Yes, absolutely. Not all people of course, but some will be either resentful or will simply not believe you...either way it helps no one. I would only discuss with my close friends that I studied with.

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TTT-LS
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby TTT-LS » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:11 pm

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Last edited by TTT-LS on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kiwislug
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby kiwislug » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:12 pm

:oops: a few embarrassing 0L questions

-How do you "find" the BLL?
-Are codes/rules/restatement books on the reading list for a course or are you supposed to "extract" them from reading the case book [same question for BLL actually]?
-does anyone have a favorite Property hornbook?

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Arrow
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby Arrow » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:33 pm

-You can always find the relevant Black Letter Law (BBL) on westlaw or nexus. There is far too much law, and treatises, cases, statutes, codes, etc all are "law" in on sense. There is no "one" source with what the law is, because the law is fluid and ever changing. In many cases, there is simply no solid law (like stream of commerce cases for personal jurisdiction).
-Yes we have rule books for courses. Some professors asks us to buy supplements for the Restatements/Uniform Commercial Code/Model Penal Code/Federal Rules, etc.
-Most of the ones I have looked at (regarding property hornbooks) are okay. There isn't one that tops the charters here.

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SteelReserve
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby SteelReserve » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:35 pm

kiwislug wrote:-How do you "find" the BLL?


It's interesting you say that because I remember one of the old supreme court justices saying the law must "be found," as if it existed in thin air.

You will find the relevant exam law in commercial outlines, E and E's, hornbooks, etc. Pay attention to the subject matter your professor talks about, and you can supplement that with rules spelled out for you in the commercial sources. Commercial sources cover MORE than your professor will discuss...because they are designed to sell copies, which means they must cover all potential exam topics.

The only thing they will not cover usually is policy, so be sure to take extensive notes on policy issues. For instance, in torts, your prof will probably talk about the pros and cons of strict liability vs. negligence...know them!

Then your mission will be to take many practice exams and compare them with your friends. There are no secrets. Good luck, and please for the love of god don't blow your 0L summer studying E and E's...PLS is a disgraceful book...I resent the fact that it almost caused me to blow my 0L summer for no apparent reason!

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Arrow
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby Arrow » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:40 pm

I think I read somewhere that...the law...or rather the black letter law at any given moment is what the court says it is.

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SteelReserve
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby SteelReserve » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:45 pm

Arrow wrote:I think I read somewhere that...the law...or rather the black letter law at any given moment is what the court says it is.



Hahahah...and it seems to change with every day.

tiesto82
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby tiesto82 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:49 pm

Virility wrote:Do you guys really think people will be resentful if you tell them your good grades?



No need to run around telling everyone your grades but if they do find out and they resent you then I say "Who gives a f***"

Honestly, IMO, the friends you will have for the rest of your life aren't the ones you will meet in law school. Many sociological and psychological studies show that law school and junior high are extremely similar regarding the students behavior. The environment is petty, gossipy, and immature. Most of us have little to no life outside of the library and the classroom and the chances you have to experience anything which is not law school oriented are few and far between. How is that an environment conducive to developing life long friendships.

The way I figure it is we are all here to get a JD and gain the experience necessary to make yourself marketable in the professional world. It seems like a small world because you see the same people everyday and in every class for 9 months; but next year those same people will not be in your classes. In three years, you will move on to a real job which in all likelihood will be with an entirely new group of people. Just my opinion, for what its worth

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SteelReserve
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby SteelReserve » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:08 pm

Agreed, and that is part of the reason law school can be pretty depressing. At least in college you made great memories with friends you will have for life...the same can be said for high school...but law school...you will probably only want to be lifelong friends with a few people, and they will probably be your study mates.

kiwislug
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby kiwislug » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:05 pm

SteelReserve wrote:
kiwislug wrote:-How do you "find" the BLL?


It's interesting you say that because I remember one of the old supreme court justices saying the law must "be found," as if it existed in thin air.

You will find the relevant exam law in commercial outlines, E and E's, hornbooks, etc. Pay attention to the subject matter your professor talks about, and you can supplement that with rules spelled out for you in the commercial sources. Commercial sources cover MORE than your professor will discuss...because they are designed to sell copies, which means they must cover all potential exam topics.

The only thing they will not cover usually is policy, so be sure to take extensive notes on policy issues. For instance, in torts, your prof will probably talk about the pros and cons of strict liability vs. negligence...know them!

Then your mission will be to take many practice exams and compare them with your friends. There are no secrets. Good luck, and please for the love of god don't blow your 0L summer studying E and E's...PLS is a disgraceful book...I resent the fact that it almost caused me to blow my 0L summer for no apparent reason!


Thanks for the info! I'm not planning to waste my summer studying E&Es I just keep reading terms like "Black Letter Law" and this concept of "hiding the ball" and was getting anxious. :oops:

I'm still not sure I understand the difference between "policy" and "BLL"...

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Living in America
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby Living in America » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Don't get anxious yet. You'll have plenty of time in law school to be stressed out.

ghenderson
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Re: After Grades - What did we learn?

Postby ghenderson » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:19 pm

kiwi
black letter law is well-settled rules/standards for specific issues
Ex. Damages from breach of contract must be foreseeable, either through notice or custom (Hadley v. Baxendale)

Policy usually refers to why the rule is the way it is.
Ex. Re: Hadley, we want to encourage parties to discuss and exchange information before contracting; we want parties to "pre-mitigate" (like have an extra rod for the mill)




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