arsenal11 wrote:How was Sharkey?
Sharkey is fantastically brilliant. She is a Rhodes Scholar and was Exec Editor of the YLJ while at Yale. She clerked on the 2d Cir and the Supreme Court. Not that those things necessarily mean she's brilliant, or even cool--in fact I think the coolest thing about her is that she was All-American in Lacrosse (I'm Canadian and I love that sport). But sometimes, you come across a professor who is just so damn vastly intellectually superior to every atom and cell they interact with, that you are hopelessly outmatched. Adam Samaha, though I do not necessarily agree with how he taught, is one other such professor. He was a Fay Diploma recipient at Harvard. Look that up to know what it means.
That is what Sharkey's class is like.
Lucky for you, she is more or less gracious, always willing to hear your argument and thoughts and answers. But you'll find that a lot of the time she will qualify most of what is said because she has this beautiful rare pearl of an answer already formulated. Sharkey wrote your casebook and your supplement.
As for how to do well:
1. You HAVE to know the material cold. You only get 2 sheets, back to back, for an outline. 6 pt font size will not save you.
2. You need to really understand, digest, and analyze every policy/ethics argument made in class, and in the readings. Know the econ side of things, the deterrence side of things, the retribution side of things. Know how you can pursue both goals at once and why you might not be able to. Policy is going to be a big chunk of the final.
3. The final is one massive fact pattern, several short answers that ask you to weigh in on statements or argument theses, and then one essay on torts policy. Even if you knock the fact pattern out of the park (it's ALWAYS negligence, causation, maybe a smattering of other things too), you've only done half her final. The other half, is concocting policy arguments.
4. It is comparatively less important to know the exact facts of torts cases than it is to understand the reasoning for a decision. You'd think this was a no-brainer, but there are courses where the facts matter a lot--Crim for example is a class where exactly what happened matters as much if not more than the policy behind the judgment. In torts, you can use all the facts to make some case for negligence sure, but a lot of what drives whether it's a cogent argument or not is to examine the policy reasons. Sharkey loves asking those types of questions in esoteric fashion--structured as "Why would we prefer 'elaborate argument X' over 'elaborate argument Y' to support 'somewhat related notion A' in the context of this Case?' If you read the Case, you'll have no clue how to answer. You need to have read the Case and contemplated related notions A and B, before her question makes any sense to you.
5. Do NOT skip out on the guest lectures. If she tells you something is optional, translate that into 'mandatory'.
6. She also cold calls but IIRC, you can request a pass from time to time without penalty.
7. Go to her office hours. She doesn't care that you reiterate her thoughts on things on a final, but you need to know how she dissects arguments to understand how she will think about your own. This is unlike Miller--I don't even know where his office is. You don't need to understand Miller to do well in Civ Pro. You need to understand Sharkey to do well in Torts.
NYU has been poaching these sorts of folks for years. And there's a reason why.