Hornbooks, Commercial Outlines, Hybrids, other Study Aides!!

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caribelita
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Hornbooks, Commercial Outlines, Hybrids, other Study Aides!!

Postby caribelita » Sun May 06, 2007 3:39 pm

Hi guys,

OK...so from what I understand, apart from actually reading all the cases, briefing them, and then making your own outlines, some study aides (like hornbooks, commercial outlines, hybrids of these--like Nutshells or Examples and Explanations, flash cards, etc.) are useful.

From people who have actually spoken to law students, or even better yet, if you are a law student right now...what is your advice for 1L students?

How should we go about using these study aides? Which ones help the most, and at what point in the semester?

Also, are there any recommendations about the "best" study guides for particular courses? Or does this vary depending on where you go to LS and who your professors are?


THANKS!

mcb
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Postby mcb » Sun May 06, 2007 3:43 pm

One of my drs patients told me to get Gilberts and Emmanuels--then low and behold I pick up LSC and they say the same thing.

I'd suggest picking up LSC, it pretty much lays it out for ya :)

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caribelita
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Postby caribelita » Sun May 06, 2007 5:28 pm

I'm sorry, mcb, but what is LSC?

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riseagainst
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Postby riseagainst » Sun May 06, 2007 5:33 pm

Law School Confidential

mcb
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Postby mcb » Sun May 06, 2007 5:34 pm

yea it's Law School Confidential (sorry!)

i haven't read it cover to cover, but the parts i have read have been golden. it gives advice about everything including bar prep. it's a great book.

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caribelita
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Postby caribelita » Sun May 06, 2007 5:54 pm

Oh yes, yes.

I've read it.

:) Thanks, I'll revisit that chapter.

Do you think it's a good idea to get more than one hornbook/outliner per class, or should we just stick to one per class?

Also, how do law students go about integrating what they learn from these study aides into their final outlines for the exam?

patentlaw
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Postby patentlaw » Sun May 06, 2007 5:58 pm

Do you think it's a good idea to get more than one hornbook/outliner per class, or should we just stick to one per class?

Also, how do law students go about integrating what they learn from these study aides into their final outlines for the exam?


In my experience, the best way to tell is to find a 2L or 3L who had your professor. I used a variety based on what older students recommended, because the different books fit the professor's focus for the course.

As far as integrating, I used mine to supplement my case briefs.

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pinkelephant
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Postby pinkelephant » Sun May 06, 2007 7:25 pm

Beyond asking 2 and 3Ls, you can also ask the professor - a number of my professors this year have recommended a hornbook/commercial outline that they feel corresponds best w/ the way they teach the class.

hoyablue

Postby hoyablue » Wed May 09, 2007 2:07 pm

I've heard that Glannon's CivPro from E&E is the shite.

I bought it but have not really looked at it (probably would just be confusing at this point).

BTW "Getting to Maybe" also makes some recommendations on hornbooks, etc. It's not in the Table of Contents though afaik - just stuck in a paragraph somewhere. I marked the page but don't have it on me.

NYU 1L
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Postby NYU 1L » Thu May 10, 2007 11:14 am

In order to recommend study guides I must first explain some essential testing background.

NYU tests are of three forms: (1) fact pattern shooters, (2) depth-arguments, and (3) policy questions. There is of course some overlap between these.

A fact pattern shooter is a highly time pressured question. It contains a long body of intricate details that each trigger some connection with a black letter rule derived from some case in class. Sucess depends on mechanically being able to spot every issue, knowing how to properly apply the rule, and being able to milk and twist the facts into arguments that support each side.

A depth-argument exam is also a question that will have a long intricate fact pattern. The difference is, however, is that the facts all relate to only one issue. An example of this is a Civil Procedure fact pattern geared entirely toward personal jurisdiction. There are professors that expect you to be able to write 1 to 2 hours on a personal jurisdiction question.

A policy argument exam is usually a proposed measure introduced in a short fact pattern. You then must analyze the soundness of the policy from various theoretical perspectives [like the law and economics view-point].

I have delineated these test types because I feel that some schools test differently. In particular, NYU tests tend to be a mix of all three of the above questions while the tests I have seen from my friends at USD, USF, Cardoza, and Michigan State have been much more black letter law orienated and of the fact pattern shooter type.

My next series of points will undoubtedly sound Machiavellian. Tests are the sole measure of your law school grades and is the measure of whether you are welcomed into academia or at the top firms. Tests are measured realtive to your peers and not from an objective level. Mastering law school testing and performance on your law school exams should be your primary goal the first year. A statement like "that test was easy" makes no sense. A statement like "that test hit my strengths, I think I shifted up ten slots in my class" makes a whole lot more. I think you first understand law school when you realize that law school is not about anything objective but about learning to develop a plan to outdo your peers on test day. Perhaps this is a fitting appropriate form of education as it parallells the competition of trial well.

I gave the background paragraph because you can't understand my study system without reference to it. Thinking in this way landed me in the top 5% of the class.

Hornbooks: in my opinion these are essential for preparing for any fact-pattern shooter or depth-argument style test. These are like textbooks, and I use them (1) to build a solid understanding of the entire field of law in which to put the cases from class in perspective, (2) to look up issues I don't know the answer to and the casebook doesn't address, and (3) [most importantly] to mine the book for tricky nuances on difficult peripheral subjects that will seperate me, on test day, from my peers. In particular, a test will often do one of the following (i) have a fact pattern based off of a famous case that you didn't address in class, but the hornbook did in depth, including the courts in-depth reasoning (ii) a question just beyond where the class stopped, but you, as a hornbook reader, have seen this issue and how it is resolved, (iii) a question at the fringe of class which was alluded to, but discussed in detail in the hornbook, and now the professor, when grading your exam, believes you understood his nuanced point and its full force

Examples & Explanations - an excellent series when the test type is fact pattern shooter [not very useful for the other types of tests]. You will be surprised how many things you understand incorrectly or how many rules you misapply as you work your way through the practice problems. The Civ Pro E&E by Glannon is simply amazing.

Concepts and Insights - a simply amazing series when the test type is depth-argument or policy. Simply the most underrated series around. These books go into such depth with specific cases and come up with excellent academic style arguments that separate you so far from the pack on a test day depth-argument or policy question. Unfortunately, they do not have these for every class, but they do for several first year subjects.

Policy Article books - the best source for policy type questions. You can distinguish yourself on test day by buying a book that is a collection of law review articles on your subject and deconstructing them. You gain a competitive advantage when you rehash some extremely well thought out points on the fringe of your class, but not directly addressed by it.

Law in a Flash, Emanuels, etc. - I don't believe in these books for schools like NYU. It is too black letter focused, and could be helpful for fact pattern shooters, but not on depth-arguments or policy questions.

Casebooks - your casebook is not going to explain to you how to get an A in your class. They are confusing and provide more questions than answers. Your semester should not be spent reading primarily your casebook, a mistake at least 50% of incoming students make, and it is why the majority of students in that group gets Bs.

Statutory Supplements or Rulebooks - when a class has a rule book [like civil procedure] or a required Restatement study it well. You must become an absolute master of the details of the statute or rules, as this is so authoratative when you include in on your test. Students tend to dislike figuring out the details of these books and it is an excellent area to gain ground. I spend more time understanding these books than the casebook.

hoyablue

Postby hoyablue » Thu May 10, 2007 11:26 am

Freakin' awesome post NYU1L.

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caribelita
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Postby caribelita » Thu May 10, 2007 12:02 pm

Yeah, thanks a bunch NYU1L and everyone! :)

nd_06
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Postby nd_06 » Thu May 10, 2007 1:10 pm

I second that... freakin' awesome post!

nd_06
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Postby nd_06 » Thu May 10, 2007 1:16 pm

NYU1L if you're still around. Here is a question asked numerous times and I've researched on many a website / blog and haven't been quite satisfied in any answer: Would you recommend any sort of pre-studying for 1L?

I was thinking that instead of aiming big like a normally do (only to be lazy and fall short), I would simply set my sights on readings 1 case a day and briefing it. That way, by the time I get to law school I have a much better idea of how to brief (and how to avoid including too many irrelevant details). Furthermore, it seems to me that by reading a paltry 1 case a day I'm getting my mind more use to how cases read and what are the relevant facts. Would you recommend this or something else for a perspective 1L?

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orangeswarm
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Postby orangeswarm » Thu May 10, 2007 2:25 pm

Excellent advice! Thanks so much, that really answered a lot of my questions.




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