Ok, so here's a few tips and tricks as promised. These are all me-specific, and they don't cover most of the stuff you need to know. Read the excellent, more comprehensive stickied guides for that. These are just the top few things I wished I had known- small things that would have made my life easier.-"concur" vs. "concur in the judgment"
Read this article
. Main point: those two terms are really, really different, and it matters a lot in several civ pro and conlaw major cases. It was one of those things that all the professors assumed someone else had mentioned, and then I didn't figure it out until March and my conlaw prof was horrified when none of us knew it. -Chemerinsky-
Read the damn thing. Just do. Not all of it, and not cover to cover, but read the section for the cases you're assigned that day. Con law is tricky because you're trying to read and process the opinion, figure out what it has to do with the historical progression of things, and also figure out where it fits in your professor's unique take on conlaw. Chemerinsky spells out the first two for you, leaving your full in-class attention free to pay attention to your professor's quirks. Obviously, sometimes Chemerinksy will disagree with your prof, and then the prof is always right, but having more information will help you flesh out your general understanding of a very complicated subject.-Not reading and paying attention in class
- So it's not always possible to do every reading fully before every class. You should, but sometimes it doesn't happen. The wrong
approach is : "Crap, I didn't finish the reading; it's ok, I'll pick it up in class." This is seductive because when you do read, a lot of class feels like it's just repeating the reading. However, if you haven't
done the reading, everything will be new and hard to follow. If you go in thinking it will be easy to pick up on what's happening, you'll probably miss a lot. Try to at least read a wikipedia or other fact-heavy summary when you can't finish the reading. If you have no idea at all what's going on, your attention will probably wander. -"equitable"
- Most of you probably know this, but I didn't. "equitable" in the legal word does not always mean fair, but sometimes it does. Most of the time it refers to the historical split in courts between law and equity
, with "equitable relief" meaning injunctions or non-money solutions from the court. It generally does NOT mean "fair relief." You don't need to know about the difference between law and equity until you go over it in class, but at least when you read "Smith sought equitable relief," you won't think "Well, no shit, he wanted it to be fair."-Outlining
- every one has their own thing. Do what you want. That said, if you make something that has cases/rules/etc. in it, make sure to put in the holding- which way the case came out. In my first couple outlines, I accidentally just put in a few facts and the rules but didn't put who won. You should definitely do that.
Once you all know your profs, I'll post some info about the ones I've had, but I won't do it know since I don't want to waste time putting up info about folks you don't have. Oh, and one more- CLR sucks but it's ultimately useful. It's usefulness is directly related to how much you put into it- it has little to do with your professor.