If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

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ticklemesilly

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby ticklemesilly » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:37 am

DCfilterDC wrote:Would've also just used supplements from reserves at the library


I definitely second this. They're so expensive, and I only really used them the last few weeks before finals.

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star fox

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby star fox » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:34 am

Know your outline really well. If you get to the point where you're taking practice exams and you're like "hmm interesting there doesn't appear to be a prescriptive easement here" you're in good shape. Your issue spotting will be that much stronger since you'll know what every topic in the course is very well and know exactly what to be looking for.

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby kcdc1 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:15 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:Arguing from precedential case law is a logical fallacy?

Ducks say quack. US v Ducks. In this case, the duck will therefore say quack.

Indeed, plaintiff will note the similarity of these facts to Ducks, in which a brown duck said quack. Defendant will distinguish from Ducks on the grounds that the present duck is yellow. However, color appears to be immaterial here, so plaintiff will likely prevail.

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pancakes3

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:38 am

Joscellin wrote:1) Abandon the idea that any given answer is "right" or "wrong," learn to discuss in the margins.

2) Sit somewhere that you can focus in class and avoid distractions. Absorbing is more important than frantically scribbling info

3) Don't be afraid to ask questions if something is unclear or you don't understand. If you don't want to ask in class (or you're constantly asking... don't be that guy), then ask after class, in office hours, or in an email. Alternatively, talk it over with friends and see if you can hash through it together.

4) Take good notes. We weren't allowed to have laptops in class, so all of mine were by hand, but I would have preferred that anyway.

5) Pay attention to things the professor likes. In many of my classes, there were themes that were woven throughout (For example, in Property the professor liked to talk about 'those who control property control people.' Weaving that into my exam, I'm convinced, helped me to do as well as I did).


this is probably the best 5 point plan posted.

also protip for a racehorse issuespotter (typically torts but ymmv): every verb is an issue. argue it. counterargue it. move on.

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby nick417 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:37 am

These threads pop up every year and really serve zero value. The only secret to success in law school is your ability to write. If you can write effectively and know the basic structure of an argument, you are at a major advantage in law school (since law school exams are written and require an argument structure). Learning to write and argue effectively is not a skill that just happens either, you either have it or you don't 1 L year. If you are in undergrad still, I would suggest taking courses that require you to write or courses that are set up like law courses. At my undergrad, we offered classes in criminal law and con law where the professor taught the course like a law class (read cases and have one big exam based on a long hypo). The better writer you are, the easier law school will be for you.

Outside of writing, simple advice:

How to do well in law school: know the material for each subject.

How do you "know the material": Depends on what type of learner you are. Visual, memorize, chart, flash cards, outline.

What if I don't understand the material: Talk to the person teaching the material (i.e, the professor) they are also the one grading the exam so they should be able to tell you what you need to know and how to answer the exam question.

No magical formulas, no tricks. Pretty basic. Yet, most of the 1Ls are too lazy to put in the time to know the material or are too scared to meet with their professors.

***I can't wait for the responses from law students who did poorly to argue that grading is random because they "knew the material" and met with the professor frequently.

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby bwh8813 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:44 am

If you have access to your prof's previous exams, give them a look/read about 1/4-1/3 of the way through the semester to understand the type of exam you will likely have and what is important. Some profs like to get into policy discussions in classes and students get caught up in them and focus too much on that, when it has no bearing on your exam or grade. If that's the case and you're interested in policy stuff, knock yourself out but don't waste additional time on it. If you don't care about policy, listen in class to the point you can fake it if called on but don't sweat it otherwise because it ultimately may not matter.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jul 07, 2016 12:04 pm

I think all things being equal being a better writer is better than being a worse writer, but I had a law prof tell me to my face that he was glad my answers were well-written but that it doesn't earn points over someone who got more issues than I did. I also had at least one prof who would give just as many points for stuff written in bullet points.

I did have one prof who told us she graded on writing ability and that was awesome, but the fact that she had to tell us that specifically so we knew going into the exam should say something about the expectations for writing on exams.

Again, being a good writer is awesome, and all else in your answer being equal, the better-written answer will stand out. But I don't think "knowing how to write" is sufficient for success on law school exams - you have to know how to write *an exam.* it's not like most previous writing you've done.

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Depressed Gooner

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby Depressed Gooner » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:25 am

Do you guys recommend renting or buying textbooks in 1L?

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MKC

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby MKC » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:35 am

DCfilterDC wrote:
Nebby wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:
Hikikomorist wrote:I found that looking over model answers was way more helpful than actually taking practice exams. Again, if someone else has already solved the puzzle, just copy what they did; don't try to reinvent the wheel in the name of self-discovery.


Are you joking?

I never looked at a model answer nor did I ever do a practice test during LS


Yeah but you're the smartest person I know


This.... This is sarcasm right?
Last edited by MKC on Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BigZuck

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:45 am

Depressed Gooner wrote:Do you guys recommend renting or buying textbooks in 1L?

Renting

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:
Nebby wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:
Hikikomorist wrote:I found that looking over model answers was way more helpful than actually taking practice exams. Again, if someone else has already solved the puzzle, just copy what they did; don't try to reinvent the wheel in the name of self-discovery.


Are you joking?

I never looked at a model answer nor did I ever do a practice test during LS


Yeah but you're the smartest person I know


This.... This is sarcasm right?

Yes

Biglaw Investor

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby Biglaw Investor » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:39 pm

I would spend time writing out my exams - we had successful exams in the library that you could review. I think copying them and typing them out is pretty helpful in making sure you express yourself in a way that is familiar to the law professors. After all, chances are high it was one of your professor's that awarded them an A in the first place.

browniestasty

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby browniestasty » Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:45 pm

Kiss my legal writing professor's ass more and just write what she wanted verbatim.

I am not just blaming without basis. My legal writing prof gave me lowest grade for the final assignment. Her boss, who judged the oral arguments and read the briefs, said I wrote the best one with best arguments.

This really was a learning experience for me. Working for people, writing what they want, and keeping my opinions to myself are legitimate skills that I need to acquire.

It generally goes toward what others have said in this thread. Keep your head down, be nice, and just realize everyone knows he/she is on a curve but doesn't want to think about it all the frigging time.

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby GoneSouth » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:18 am

foregetaboutdre wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Pointing to cases are a good way to earn quick points.

Proximate Cause - "Plaintiff will argue X HARM was a foreseeable consequence of Defendant's Y ACTION because (reasons). Plaintiff will also argue that ANALOGOUS CASE held X HARM to be a foreseeable consequence of Y ACTION."

Second sentence is usually worth another point. I wouldn't go out of my way to memorize cases though.


I think citing cases occasionally on exams makes sense too. Most 1L classes you'll go over one topic in class (e.g. easements) and read like three cases about it. If you get an exam with an easement question, it's likely it will be in some way similar to a case you've read. Thus, make your point/apply the rule and maybe throw in the case name (CASE) after the rule.

If you don't know the case or it will take you all day to find it on your outline just skip it. Citing cases may get you a couple of points here and there, but it's not going to be a substantial part of your exam.


My advice.... Do many practice problems (these are even more helpful imho than outlines) AND if you get good grades first semester don't let up. I had a minor fall off.


Citing cases is an easy way for a professor to give you points. They know what cases they expect to be in play on different questions. When they see the name, they can check it off, rather than trying to figure out whether your time-crunched writing is accurately describing what this case that you didn't name stood for.

I actually had a prof, and a brilliant one at that, tell us that we should cite cases instead of trying to explain the rule because if we tried to explain the rule ourselves, there was a non-zero chance we would explain it incorrectly. I cited a ton of cases and crushed the exam. YMMV on that, but I found that after taking seven 1L exams, my grade was directly proportional to the number of cases I cited

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby browniestasty » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:46 am

My professors:
Citing the cases is an easy way to describe rules.
If you cite, cite correctly or you'll lose points.
I don't see how you could write a good answer without citing. (I still didn't due to time pressure. I just wrote "see xxx" at the end. Got an A)
Don't bother citing.

My experience: No matter what they actually say, professors just want some indication you read something. The substance of the law and analyses are way more important.

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PeanutsNJam

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby PeanutsNJam » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:08 am

losing points, ever, on an exam, is incredibly rare and probably almost never happens

losing credibility on an exam does happen, and one professor explicitly told us that if the first sentence you say is wrong, he will be skeptical and conservative when handing out points. To quote him, "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while."

chingwoo

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby chingwoo » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:41 am

Dropped out.


Seriously though would have probably done much more business networking my first semester 1L year.

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby Florence Night » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:10 am

Hikikomorist wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:
Hikikomorist wrote:I found that looking over model answers was way more helpful than actually taking practice exams. Again, if someone else has already solved the puzzle, just copy what they did; don't try to reinvent the wheel in the name of self-discovery.


Are you joking?

No. I'm sure you can get a good grade through doing lots of practice exams, but you can do that more efficiently, in terms of time expended, by studying certifiably good answers. Admittedly, you won't usually have model answers, but it's great when you do.


Completely agree Hikikomorist. I graduated top 10% at CCN, and I basically never took a full-on simulated practice exam where I wrote for 3 hours without looking at the model. It was WAY more useful and efficient to see lots of good model answers than to spin my tires not knowing wtf I was doing just so I could say I took a fullly-simulated practice exam. My MO was to read the question, think about what I'd write, maybe outline my thoughts on it, then go through each model answer carefully. Repeat with another practice exam, repeat again, etc. I'd have seen all model answers and gone through them pretty thoroughly, and not really fully "taken" any exam, though by the time I'd gone through 3 or 4 practice exams I could pretty well restate what the exam answer was going to look like. When it came to the real exam, I just had to write it down.

Professors' exams do not differ that much from year to year. There is no excuse for not reading each of the professor's past exams in that subject and reading each exam answer. It takes very little time and it is incredibly valuable.

I also want to say that memorizing black letter is underrated. It's not sufficient, but it is completely necessary and often overlooked by people who downplay it because it doesn't guarantee you a good grade. But if you know the black letter cold and you have read through several model answers, you are probably going to do pretty well.
Last edited by Florence Night on Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:17 am, edited 3 times in total.

barkschool

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby barkschool » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:15 am

Depressed Gooner wrote:Hey everyone! Currently 0L

"Quit while you're ahead", "I would have not gone to law school", "I would have gone to X school for X money", or any other negative comments !

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:45 pm

Doing practice exams doesn't require full-on 3-hour full-paragraphs simulation, though. I usually got together with people and we outlined them with bullet points and then compared notes. When you say you read the question, thought about what you'd write, maybe outline your thoughts...that's doing a practice exam in my book.

Just relying on model answers to me is just reading the questions and looking immediately to the answers.

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby Florence Night » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:49 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Doing practice exams doesn't require full-on 3-hour full-paragraphs simulation, though. I usually got together with people and we outlined them with bullet points and then compared notes. When you say you read the question, thought about what you'd write, maybe outline your thoughts...that's doing a practice exam in my book.

Just relying on model answers to me is just reading the questions and looking immediately to the answers.


Ok.

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby ontopoftheworld » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:12 pm

twenty wrote:1) I would have stopped trying to read every goddamn word in the casebook. By late 1L, I was skimming cases (sometimes in class while being simultaneously cold called :D ), and as a 2L, I didn't even buy the casebooks. Whenever I got called on, I'd just say "Oh, sorry Prof X. I didn't bring my book to class today" and he'd/she'd get the picture pretty fast. Anyway. I read too much as a 1L, and I probably needed to read about a fourth of what I actually ended up reading.

2) I would have been more selective about which outside outlines I read. Some outlines that look really good (i.e, have 50+ pages, nice charts, and italics around case names) are absolute garbage. Some outlines that look really horrible (i.e, typos, huge block quotes that don't seem to matter) are actually incredibly valuable. I'd say in order:

Outline of the class by your own professor (I had a prof that did this, it was great) > outline by a former student of the professor > outline by a student who used your casebook > commercial outline > everything else.

The first two are the only two I would rely on. I see too many people relying on outlines by other students with the same casebook. This is okay, but kind of dangerous, and a good way to accidentally miss things your professor really cares about (twist! these things are worth points on the exam.)

3) Actually, number 2) is stupid. Don't outline; take good notes and far more importantly, go over past exams. Reading past exams is a really good way to make sure you understand the law. Taking past exams is a really good way you don't fall into the "I think I understand what I'm doing..." trap. If you find yourself consistently writing things that get you no points, well, now you know. Rinse and repeat.

4) Finally, I would have told myself to chill the fuck out. If you listened to TLS' advice, you're either going to a regional school with a very large scholarship, or you're going to a very top law school. If it's the former, your grades don't matter because you're not getting biglaw either way, so really, who cares if you get Bs. A lot of employers aren't even going to look at your transcripts anyway. If it's the latter, UPenn and up are putting, what, 75%+ of their class in biglaw/A3? And that's not counting the people who self-select out into PI/government? Unless you are literally the very bottom of your class (or, alternatively, the very top), no one cares except you. I wish I hadn't spent so much goddamn time worrying and fretting over grades which have had absolutely zero impact on what kind of job I can get post-grad.


every single word of this is wrong. at least for me. dont take TLS advice too seriously. none of it from actually authenticated top 10% students.
also, cases are SO FUCKING IMPORTANT. so fuck everyone who said to "skim" it. my exams were all basically from the casebooks and I was partly screwed when I didn't read closely. But thank YOU JESUS for giving me the opportunity to transfer to a Top 25 school.

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby Depressed Gooner » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:57 pm

ontopoftheworld wrote:
twenty wrote:1) I would have stopped trying to read every goddamn word in the casebook. By late 1L, I was skimming cases (sometimes in class while being simultaneously cold called :D ), and as a 2L, I didn't even buy the casebooks. Whenever I got called on, I'd just say "Oh, sorry Prof X. I didn't bring my book to class today" and he'd/she'd get the picture pretty fast. Anyway. I read too much as a 1L, and I probably needed to read about a fourth of what I actually ended up reading.

2) I would have been more selective about which outside outlines I read. Some outlines that look really good (i.e, have 50+ pages, nice charts, and italics around case names) are absolute garbage. Some outlines that look really horrible (i.e, typos, huge block quotes that don't seem to matter) are actually incredibly valuable. I'd say in order:

Outline of the class by your own professor (I had a prof that did this, it was great) > outline by a former student of the professor > outline by a student who used your casebook > commercial outline > everything else.

The first two are the only two I would rely on. I see too many people relying on outlines by other students with the same casebook. This is okay, but kind of dangerous, and a good way to accidentally miss things your professor really cares about (twist! these things are worth points on the exam.)

3) Actually, number 2) is stupid. Don't outline; take good notes and far more importantly, go over past exams. Reading past exams is a really good way to make sure you understand the law. Taking past exams is a really good way you don't fall into the "I think I understand what I'm doing..." trap. If you find yourself consistently writing things that get you no points, well, now you know. Rinse and repeat.

4) Finally, I would have told myself to chill the fuck out. If you listened to TLS' advice, you're either going to a regional school with a very large scholarship, or you're going to a very top law school. If it's the former, your grades don't matter because you're not getting biglaw either way, so really, who cares if you get Bs. A lot of employers aren't even going to look at your transcripts anyway. If it's the latter, UPenn and up are putting, what, 75%+ of their class in biglaw/A3? And that's not counting the people who self-select out into PI/government? Unless you are literally the very bottom of your class (or, alternatively, the very top), no one cares except you. I wish I hadn't spent so much goddamn time worrying and fretting over grades which have had absolutely zero impact on what kind of job I can get post-grad.


every single word of this is wrong. at least for me. dont take TLS advice too seriously. none of it from actually authenticated top 10% students.
also, cases are SO FUCKING IMPORTANT. so fuck everyone who said to "skim" it. my exams were all basically from the casebooks and I was partly screwed when I didn't read closely. But thank YOU JESUS for giving me the opportunity to transfer to a Top 25 school.



Thanks for the insight! What school did you transfer from and how was the transfer process (grades you had at previous schools, process for transferring)? I just want to keep everything in mind!

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby BigZuck » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:33 pm

ontopoftheworld wrote:
twenty wrote:1) I would have stopped trying to read every goddamn word in the casebook. By late 1L, I was skimming cases (sometimes in class while being simultaneously cold called :D ), and as a 2L, I didn't even buy the casebooks. Whenever I got called on, I'd just say "Oh, sorry Prof X. I didn't bring my book to class today" and he'd/she'd get the picture pretty fast. Anyway. I read too much as a 1L, and I probably needed to read about a fourth of what I actually ended up reading.

2) I would have been more selective about which outside outlines I read. Some outlines that look really good (i.e, have 50+ pages, nice charts, and italics around case names) are absolute garbage. Some outlines that look really horrible (i.e, typos, huge block quotes that don't seem to matter) are actually incredibly valuable. I'd say in order:

Outline of the class by your own professor (I had a prof that did this, it was great) > outline by a former student of the professor > outline by a student who used your casebook > commercial outline > everything else.

The first two are the only two I would rely on. I see too many people relying on outlines by other students with the same casebook. This is okay, but kind of dangerous, and a good way to accidentally miss things your professor really cares about (twist! these things are worth points on the exam.)

3) Actually, number 2) is stupid. Don't outline; take good notes and far more importantly, go over past exams. Reading past exams is a really good way to make sure you understand the law. Taking past exams is a really good way you don't fall into the "I think I understand what I'm doing..." trap. If you find yourself consistently writing things that get you no points, well, now you know. Rinse and repeat.

4) Finally, I would have told myself to chill the fuck out. If you listened to TLS' advice, you're either going to a regional school with a very large scholarship, or you're going to a very top law school. If it's the former, your grades don't matter because you're not getting biglaw either way, so really, who cares if you get Bs. A lot of employers aren't even going to look at your transcripts anyway. If it's the latter, UPenn and up are putting, what, 75%+ of their class in biglaw/A3? And that's not counting the people who self-select out into PI/government? Unless you are literally the very bottom of your class (or, alternatively, the very top), no one cares except you. I wish I hadn't spent so much goddamn time worrying and fretting over grades which have had absolutely zero impact on what kind of job I can get post-grad.


every single word of this is wrong. at least for me. dont take TLS advice too seriously. none of it from actually authenticated top 10% students.
also, cases are SO FUCKING IMPORTANT. so fuck everyone who said to "skim" it. my exams were all basically from the casebooks and I was partly screwed when I didn't read closely. But thank YOU JESUS for giving me the opportunity to transfer to a Top 25 school.

Ironically, every single word of this post is wrong. At least for me. Cases generally weren't very important, but of course YMMV and pay attention to what your professor wants because that's the most important thing.

It's unfortunate that the vetting process on these fora isn't up to your standards but I can confirm that at least some of the advice on TLS is from authentic actual top 10%ers

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby twenty » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:28 pm

ontopoftheworld wrote:every single word of this is wrong.


Aside from "don't agonize over cases", what other parts do you think are wrong?

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Re: If I Could Go Back to 1L I Would Have....

Postby Nebby » Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:35 am

BigZuck wrote:
ontopoftheworld wrote:
twenty wrote:1) I would have stopped trying to read every goddamn word in the casebook. By late 1L, I was skimming cases (sometimes in class while being simultaneously cold called :D ), and as a 2L, I didn't even buy the casebooks. Whenever I got called on, I'd just say "Oh, sorry Prof X. I didn't bring my book to class today" and he'd/she'd get the picture pretty fast. Anyway. I read too much as a 1L, and I probably needed to read about a fourth of what I actually ended up reading.

2) I would have been more selective about which outside outlines I read. Some outlines that look really good (i.e, have 50+ pages, nice charts, and italics around case names) are absolute garbage. Some outlines that look really horrible (i.e, typos, huge block quotes that don't seem to matter) are actually incredibly valuable. I'd say in order:

Outline of the class by your own professor (I had a prof that did this, it was great) > outline by a former student of the professor > outline by a student who used your casebook > commercial outline > everything else.

The first two are the only two I would rely on. I see too many people relying on outlines by other students with the same casebook. This is okay, but kind of dangerous, and a good way to accidentally miss things your professor really cares about (twist! these things are worth points on the exam.)

3) Actually, number 2) is stupid. Don't outline; take good notes and far more importantly, go over past exams. Reading past exams is a really good way to make sure you understand the law. Taking past exams is a really good way you don't fall into the "I think I understand what I'm doing..." trap. If you find yourself consistently writing things that get you no points, well, now you know. Rinse and repeat.

4) Finally, I would have told myself to chill the fuck out. If you listened to TLS' advice, you're either going to a regional school with a very large scholarship, or you're going to a very top law school. If it's the former, your grades don't matter because you're not getting biglaw either way, so really, who cares if you get Bs. A lot of employers aren't even going to look at your transcripts anyway. If it's the latter, UPenn and up are putting, what, 75%+ of their class in biglaw/A3? And that's not counting the people who self-select out into PI/government? Unless you are literally the very bottom of your class (or, alternatively, the very top), no one cares except you. I wish I hadn't spent so much goddamn time worrying and fretting over grades which have had absolutely zero impact on what kind of job I can get post-grad.


every single word of this is wrong. at least for me. dont take TLS advice too seriously. none of it from actually authenticated top 10% students.
also, cases are SO FUCKING IMPORTANT. so fuck everyone who said to "skim" it. my exams were all basically from the casebooks and I was partly screwed when I didn't read closely. But thank YOU JESUS for giving me the opportunity to transfer to a Top 25 school.

Ironically, every single word of this post is wrong. At least for me. Cases generally weren't very important, but of course YMMV and pay attention to what your professor wants because that's the most important thing.

It's unfortunate that the vetting process on these fora isn't up to your standards but I can confirm that at least some of the advice on TLS is from authentic actual top 10%ers

Watch out bro he transferred to a top 25



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