Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

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snyphil2
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Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:51 pm

I did well my first two years at GULC and just finished an SA in California. Looking to become a biglaw litigator, but maybe get out the game at some point. Currently applying to clerkships.

This forum helped me figure out how to succeed in law school and I want to give back. Ask me anything.

redbullvodka
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby redbullvodka » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:57 pm

What stats did you come in with when you got to GULC?

What specific things do you attribute your success to?

thanks so much for doing this!

snyphil2
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:05 pm

redbullvodka wrote:What stats did you come in with when you got to GULC?

What specific things do you attribute your success to?

thanks so much for doing this!


hi, no problem. are you a student or a 0L?

I had a GPA of around 3.7 from a public university where I got a B.S. I was super lucky on the LSAT and got a 171 despite having been scoring around 168. GULC matched my other admit (Cornell) at $15k a year and I chose them because of location.

redbullvodka
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby redbullvodka » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:10 pm

Incoming 1L at CCN. What do you think you did well that brought you such success?

hopper123
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby hopper123 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:16 pm

How did things work out for you in 1L and 2L OCI? Did you have any prior work experience? If yes, do you think it helped you a lot?

snyphil2
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:17 pm

redbullvodka wrote:Incoming 1L at CCN. What do you think you did well that brought you such success?


I just explained some of this to another guy via pm, but let me restate the short version:

-I told myself I was going to try really, really hard and I let everybody know that this was something serious to me.
-I took a long trip out of the country that helped me get ready to work hard again (I'd been working before) and showed me that law school success isn't everything (or really anything, in the grand scheme)


that's before law school. as to during law school:
-I never fell behind on reading
-I looked to as many sources as possible for insights on how to do well: TLS, talking to 2Ls and 3Ls who had done well (highly recommended: a mentor), and reading Getting to Maybe. I remember I bought LEEWS but didn't ever end up going/listening to it.
-For me, doing practice exams was key. I maintain that this is really, really huge. The reason (I think) is that it's a great way for most people (maybe not all) to actually imbed the knowledge in their head. You want to become someone conversant in Torts to do well on a Torts exam. Side note, I actually got my worst grade in Torts, but whatever. I have a friend who never does practice exams and did very well, but she's the rarity IMO. If you have a particularly unique learning style, maybe consider something else, but generally I'd say do a lot of practice exams. It's hard to do: you'll be at the end of the semester and you'll feel like your outline is half-done and is a piece of shit. Do practice exams instead, and fill in the places in the outline you learn you didn't know when you do the practice exam.

A little rambling and written like an exam (quickly without regard for style) but I hope it helps.

snyphil2
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:22 pm

hopper123 wrote:How did things work out for you in 1L and 2L OCI? Did you have any prior work experience? If yes, do you think it helped you a lot?


As a 1L I applied to a gov't job early and got it before people really started scrambling for work. It happened to be super cool and I freaking loved it. I got it before grades came out and didn't try for any firm stuff. As to 2L OCI, I got a ton of callbacks and after getting what was basically my first choice I started phoning it in and bombed a few callbacks before cancelling the others. Not particularly proud of that... haha.

I worked at a law firm before law school and I think it helped in these ways: it gave me ties to the area (which will be helpful in practice, generally, since now I have connections at two cool firms in the market) and it made me understand why Civil Procedure was important. I loved Civ Pro where I think a lot of others were kind of disoriented; for me, I was finally learning all the shit no one had bothered to explain to me before.

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sambeber
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby sambeber » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:20 pm

snyphil2 wrote:
hopper123 wrote:How did things work out for you in 1L and 2L OCI? Did you have any prior work experience? If yes, do you think it helped you a lot?


As a 1L I applied to a gov't job early and got it before people really started scrambling for work. It happened to be super cool and I freaking loved it. I got it before grades came out and didn't try for any firm stuff. As to 2L OCI, I got a ton of callbacks and after getting what was basically my first choice I started phoning it in and bombed a few callbacks before cancelling the others. Not particularly proud of that... haha.

I worked at a law firm before law school and I think it helped in these ways: it gave me ties to the area (which will be helpful in practice, generally, since now I have connections at two cool firms in the market) and it made me understand why Civil Procedure was important. I loved Civ Pro where I think a lot of others were kind of disoriented; for me, I was finally learning all the shit no one had bothered to explain to me before.


PM'ed you.

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2014
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby 2014 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:31 pm

When did you start taking practice tests and how many per class?

Did you make your own outlines, use good upperclass ones, commercial ones or some combination thereof?

To what extent did you rely on supplements?

Any time management tips? Did you manage to have time for fun up until you had to gear up for finals or did your preparation take up basically all of your waking hours?

Thanks in advance, just curious about your approach regarding those things since they come up in all of the success guides that people make.

snyphil2
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:45 pm

2014 wrote:When did you start taking practice tests and how many per class?


I would look at one of the exams fairly early on in the semester to get a feeling for what sort of thing I'd be expected to know/do by the end of the semester. If practice exams were a scarce resource, I'd save looking at the answers to this exam until I actually did one in practice. The more exams available, the more I'd freely take them' the fewer, the more I'd study before I "used up" that valuable resource. I don't know the exact timeframe of when I'd start taking them, but ideally something like 2-3 weeks out so that you have time to do a large percentage of them before taking the exam, without feeling cramped to have to do, like, one every day; but without taking them so far out that you forget everything.

2014 wrote:Did you make your own outlines, use good upperclass ones, commercial ones or some combination thereof?

To what extent did you rely on supplements?


As a 1L I made all of my own outlines, although I occasionally would look to an upperclass mentor's to see what I was missing or where mine could be stronger. I generally go pretty quickly through outlines, though, since you could spend a year on them and still not have everything. Just try to do a good job on all the important parts (e.g., know the Chevron doctrine for an admin law course, or summary judgment in civ pro).

As to commercial outlines and supplements, I had a bunch of them but didn't use them a ton, really. I used them when I was confused on a point or wanted to learn it from a different perspective. Glannon's civ pro supplement was fantastic. I probably should have used my torts supplement more. Not sure exactly the advice to give here; again, the all-important thing is that you become conversant in the language and cases of torts (or civ pro or contracts, whatever) and be able to talk about them intelligently when asked about them. And, of course (actually, you might not know this yet!) law school exams are mainly about applying what you've learned to new facts. This means you have to understand what you've learned on a more general level so that you can analogize the facts of the cases you read to the facts of the questions.

2014 wrote:Any time management tips? Did you manage to have time for fun up until you had to gear up for finals or did your preparation take up basically all of your waking hours?

Thanks in advance, just curious about your approach regarding those things since they come up in all of the success guides that people make


Time management for studying, and not during the exam, right?
I definitely had a lot of fun, although I was also working quite hard. Like a month, or really 3 weeks before exams, I'd stop doing much of anything with anyone else. I'd probably get pulled into going out, or lose my mind and have to go out, once or twice during that period, but I'd keep it pretty tame. During the school year you don't have any homework other than getting your reading done (aside from your legal writing class), so there's usually a good deal of time to do different things. I think it's a good policy to do all of your reading, and then do 5%-10% on top of it to make yourself really stand out: e.g., skim a supplement about what you just read so you can see it from a different angle, or get a deeper understanding. Sometimes this will feel/sound crazy when you've been assigned 100 pages of stupid conlaw reading, but even if you skim parts of that conlaw reading (or maybe especially if) you should still try to crack out the supplement for a bit of extra help, or read about it somehow online, or talk about it with friends. Go the extra mile a little bit during the year, then go the extra mile hard as fuck toward the end.

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sambeber
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby sambeber » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:14 pm

PMed again. Not sure if you check regularly.

snyphil2
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:51 pm

hey everybody, I've been getting some PMs that cover similar material, so I'm going to make public some of the stuff I've sent people by PM:


Regarding preparation before school begins:

as far as substantive reading goes, I (tried to) read Getting to Maybe. It was sort of obscure since I didn't know what the f any of their examples meant, but it was worth something, I think, to try to think through what they were talking about.

more importantly, I think, was that I told myself and prepared to work really hard. I was in a place in my life where I was ready to really dedicate myself to doing something well, and this was it. "doing well" means making friends and being a happy person to me, too, so that was definitely part of it, but I just tried to get my ducks in a row (mentally) so I could take care of business. I also went for a long trip out of the country, which I think helped me get some perspective: if I'd come straight from working I think I might have been a little burnt out.

anon wrote:Also, forgot to ask, what's your opinion on biglaw hiring at GULC? Is it really as bad as people seem to make it here? I also chose GULC over Cornell because GULC is simply the right fit, but am definitely aiming to land a corporate law job...


TLS has great information a lot of the time, but it also aggregates everyone's anxiety and can be oppressive if read too often. So take it with a grain of salt, but realize there's some truth in it. As to GULC's OCI, do you really think a zillion firms would fly across the country and spend their time talking to us and not charging $800 an hour if they didn't want to hire us? I think if you're a cool dude and are very serious about OCI and landing a job in biglaw, you're in a fairly good position at GULC. Do top 1/3 and with those assets, I'd be shocked if you didn't get a great job. You guys are already showing promise by reading this thread; keep up your diligence and I expect you will be able to get biglaw if you want it. I think GULC's OCI is very, very difficult if you're below median. I have friends at median who got great firms (with vault rankings above mine), but they are exceptionally interesting, charismatic people with interesting pasts. GULC is a school where there's still the possibility of getting shut out of OCI (unlike what I understand of the top three schools), but it also presents top opportunities. If you come to school here and want biglaw, don't fuck around, but if you go for it you can probably get it. Disclaimer is that this is my vantage point and maybe this doesn't apply to you.

Actually, this brings up a point I've wanted to make: one of the most important things to doing well in school, in my view, is checking your ego at the door. While undergrads who come straight through might be a little too green, there's also a problem for people with a lot of experience: I have friends at other schools who came in "knowing everything" and didn't want to go through the humiliation of starting over and looking like an idiot a few times. Roll your sleeves up, forget what you knew before, and learn what THIS PROFESSOR is trying to tell you, the best you can.

snyphil2
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:24 pm

Anybody else? Good luck all! :)

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quiver
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby quiver » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:43 pm

Are you mainly applying to district court or COA clerkships?

snyphil2
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:05 am

quiver wrote:Are you mainly applying to district court or COA clerkships?


a bit of both. just trying to find clerkships I'd be interested in having. my biggest criteria is finding someone who it would be fun and interesting to work for, so I'm focusing on judges who have received rave reviews from their former clerks. if it doesn't happen this year, I'll try again next year.

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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby ksllaw » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:41 am

Thank you for your willingness to "give back" as you put it in your OP. Very nice and helpful of you! :)

I enjoyed reading your posts thus far and I was further wondering about how people (such as yourself) successfully handle the competition aspect of law school? I personally tend to be an idealist and also someone who genuinely enjoys learning for learning's sake and so wonder how I would handle the competition that comes with law school (where there is pressure to not only master academic material, but to also beat your peers in the process)?

The closest examples I had in undergrad were with curved and competitive classes. In those situations I actually stuck to my guns so to speak and focused more on really trying to learn the material out of a passion and curiosity for it (and trying to mentally block out the competition/curve part of it - I knew it was there, but tried not to focus on it when studying...although occassionally it did make me also want to work harder when things got tough...but I think I may have did my best work when doing it out of pure intellectual curiosity) and found that I did well with that method. I wonder, though, how fierce the competition of law school can get and whether one has to deal with it in more novel ways?

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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:27 pm

ksllaw wrote:Thank you for your willingness to "give back" as you put it in your OP. Very nice and helpful of you! :)

I enjoyed reading your posts thus far and I was further wondering about how people (such as yourself) successfully handle the competition aspect of law school? I personally tend to be an idealist and also someone who genuinely enjoys learning for learning's sake and so wonder how I would handle the competition that comes with law school (where there is pressure to not only master academic material, but to also beat your peers in the process)?

The closest examples I had in undergrad were with curved and competitive classes. In those situations I actually stuck to my guns so to speak and focused more on really trying to learn the material out of a passion and curiosity for it (and trying to mentally block out the competition/curve part of it - I knew it was there, but tried not to focus on it when studying...although occassionally it did make me also want to work harder when things got tough...but I think I may have did my best work when doing it out of pure intellectual curiosity) and found that I did well with that method. I wonder, though, how fierce the competition of law school can get and whether one has to deal with it in more novel ways?


No problem, I'm glad you enjoy this thread. I think, sadly, part of my willingness to contribute is sourced from a sick obsession with worrying about law school and jobs; now that I've got an offer and don't have too much to worry about (in that regard) I create a little worry by worrying about you guys.

I have an idea of what you're talking about, and I'll answer with that in mind, but what do you mean by "successfully handle the competition"? What is there to handle, what is your goal with respect to handling competition? Maybe part of what I'm asking is, what is "competition"? It's primarily something we each create in our own heads, and is often different from what we expect. With that weird disclaimer, I'll say what comes to mind.

Law students at top schools are all generally good at school and want to do the best they can. We're all smart enough to know that there are a limited number of As that that if we don't get one, someone else will. That said, at least at GULC, the class is big enough that (in my experience) people don't get bad feelings toward each other over grades. People told us to expect things to 'change' after the first semester, or to be jealous or something when people make law review. I did not find that to be the case, and I made good friendships that have lasted. I've never really discussed grades with any friends. I got an idea of who the top people were based on who I shared interview rooms with and stuff. Some of them were highly competitive people (like me), some were mellow and giving.

That's my general advice, which is pretty tame. Read further for a diatribe that's somewhat unrelated.

Competition among students is one more way that law school is supposed to put you on the prestige/money/models/bottles treadmill. Try to stay away from that treadmill, or at least recognize what it is. There are a million things that can sweep you up in worrying about your position in life (should I be president of a student group? what if I don't make law review? should I write a note? should I RA for a professor? should I trade up my V50 firm for a V5 firm? do the senior associates like me? do the partners like me? is the antitrust practice group more 'prestigious' than the one i'm in? are bankers cooler than lawyers (NY), are startup execs cooler than lawyers (SF), are agents cooler than lawyers (LA)?). Screw all of it; take a deep breath and do you for you. Like you said, learn the material, and ask questions you'd like to know the answer to and that you think might contribute to class. Try not to annoy everybody, but don't live for anybody else: for the admiration/jealousy of your peers, or, more broadly, for anyone who told you what you should be. I guess what I'm saying is, law school grades don't define you. Try not to let them and I expect the competition you expect might not be so bad.

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Triveal
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby Triveal » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:28 pm

Where else did you get in? 3.7 / 171, from what I understand, would have a shot at CCN...

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Lovely Ludwig Van
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby Lovely Ludwig Van » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:10 pm

Thanks for doing this. We really appreciate it :D

1) How did the OCI process work out for you (obviously pretty well) and your classmates? Were the people who struck out mostly able to find something decent eventually?

2) How did the interview/callback process go? Did you feel intimated at any point? Any advice on how to do well when meeting with partners/associates?

3) Did you enjoy your SA? Stressed at any point?

3) How important do you feel work experience and undergrad prestige are to doing well at OCI?

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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:27 pm

Triveal wrote:Where else did you get in? 3.7 / 171, from what I understand, would have a shot at CCN...


Cornell. Dang, wish someone had told me this info back then! :) I felt like I didn't have a "great cycle," either. One excuse is that standards seemed really high in 2010 - there were a record number of applicants. Maybe my personal statement sucked that badly, though.

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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:37 pm

Lovely Ludwig Van wrote:Thanks for doing this. We really appreciate it :D

1) How did the OCI process work out for you (obviously pretty well) and your classmates? Were the people who struck out mostly able to find something decent eventually?

2) How did the interview/callback process go? Did you feel intimated at any point? Any advice on how to do well when meeting with partners/associates?

3) Did you enjoy your SA? Stressed at any point?

3) How important do you feel work experience and undergrad prestige are to doing well at OCI?


1. OCI went well. Got a bunch of CBs, but didn't get W&C in DC or Cravath in NY. Whatever, the Cravath guy was a psychopath and W&C seemed a little eggheaded. Who needs them?

2. CBs went well, although (I think I touched on this earlier) I sort of started bombing them after I got offers at my two top choices, which was a little awkward, but resulted in good stories. Intimidated... not really, except maybe before a callback in NYC; I've never spent a lot of time there and I didn't feel quite as comfortable as I did in my home markets. But I think it went quite well - New Yorkers are just people, like the rest of us. That bears on how to meet with a partner or associate: they're people, so talk to them like it. Partners might be a little older so the shit they're interested in might be a little different, but you'd probably be surprised. Some of them seem to want you to treat them like god's gift, but whenever I did that (when I thought it was appropriate) it actually didn't go that well. Maybe it was just a person I didn't get along with very well.

3. F yeah I enjoyed it, although I'm kind of upset about much weight I've packed on over the past few weeks. Really bad. Stressed? Not really; it's kind of a weird feeling to have nothing to worry about so I, oddly, create stress for myself in other areas of my life, but it's one of the most low-pressure jobs in the world, if you do it right.

3 [sic!!!]. I doubt undergrad prestige is that important at OCI - although I guess it could affect what you think of someone when you meet them. Does it when you meet people? Probably matters about that much. Undergrad is generally more of a, "oh I went there too! did you live in x? did you have professor y? haha!" friendly thing, which is great, but whatever. Work experience for me was helpful because it gave me something to talk about and made me understand lawyers more. Made me better at talking to lawyers. You're fine without either, though; just show enthusiasm for whatever you do, particularly with respect to becoming a lawyer. Show you're interested in the firm by knowing shit about it, without shoving your knowledge down the interviewer's throat.

GL

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PaulKriske
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby PaulKriske » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:40 pm

how to avoid the weight gain?

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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:27 am

PaulKriske wrote:how to avoid the weight gain?


Haha, as an SA? In some ways maybe part of it was that other people (the firm) was generally controlling my diet so I "let them" and just ate whatever the fuck people were ordering, which was a lot. But this is just a fat-person excuse, really I should have just chilled out and not eaten so much. Dunno, this is kind of the least of your problems. I didn't gain any weight during law school, in fact, I highly recommend badass physical exercise and great eating to use your mind best. Didn't need my best mind as an SA.

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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby Kobe » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:16 am

Your thoughts on briefing every single case before class? Thanks in advance!

snyphil2
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Re: Rising GULC 3L, top 5% taking questions

Postby snyphil2 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:11 pm

Kobe wrote:Your thoughts on briefing every single case before class? Thanks in advance!


some pluses, some minuses. for pluses, I could the conviction that you're going to brief every case as a good way to stay accountable about thoroughly reading the materials and trying to digest them as well as possible. on the other hand, it risks 1. a misunderstanding of how I think the law works and 2. it could result in a lot of unnecessary work. what I mean by 1 is that, briefing every case might suggest you think of the case as the be-all, end-all "unit" of legal learning. your notes, at the end of the semester, would be a series of individual, briefed cases. I don't think this is quite a fulsome understanding of how law and legal precedent works: the cases are kind of groups that stand for certain propositions; there are ideas in there, but to understand them completely it is best to have a web of knowledge about the area, not just a series of discrete blocks.

Now that I write this, actually, I realize I might be expressing a judicial philosophy that is arguable - like, the way things are supposed to work, or certain people think they work, is that the cases themselves ARE the be all and end all, and if something isn't in them yet, it doesn't exist. I guess what I'm trying to say is something slightly less extreme than "stuff outside the cases is important in legal decisionmaking" - what I mean is that, as a student, you know an area better if you're familiar with the cultural context of a case or piece of legislation, or the war that influenced it, or the administrative law appeals that happened before it. Okay, this is getting a bit insane and off topic, but maybe it's a good example of how to write a law school exam: try to make a point, consider its counter-points with an open mind, and say something in the end, even if it's qualified.

and now number 2: briefing cases can create unnecessary work. if your case brief template contains, for example, "procedural posture; facts, rule," and the case is used ENTIRELY as a factual example, you might not care about the procedural posture (say it's fancy and it got appealed and remanded then went up on appeal again), and, in fact, that complicated proecedural posture might take up space in your brain that could be used for some of the wacky facts of the case. however, I think one good thing that can come of unnecessary case briefing is building the skill of quickly summarizing the procedural posture, facts, and holding of a case. so with that in mind, here's my advice (which, if this were a brief, I should put at the beginning of this wall of text, but since I don't care, I won't; rewards go to the diligent here):

I'd probably brief every case for at least the first 3-4 weeks of law school until you feel like it's easy to do. it forces you to seek out the holding in every case you read, which is a good habit to get in. after that point, when it's time to begin getting smart about studying and putting what really counts into your head, consider whether you can omit part of your case briefing process in order to save time and focus on what matters.




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