Legal classes in Undergrad

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scionb4
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Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby scionb4 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:27 pm

I know that taking legal classes in undergrad will not help you at all in gaining admissions to law school, not will they help you at all in passing classes in law school. But, just to get a better grasp on the legal system and to brush up on skills necessary to be a litigator (ie: arguing, public speaking, mediating) I decided to take three pre-law classes my last semester (as in right now) just to get my mind thinking about the law. Anybody take legal classes in undergrad? Were they any good? Or is it utterly a complete waste of time, and I should have taken guitar lessons, a photography class, and a class on Greek Drama or something that I would find interesting before the hell that is law school? I just wanted to be a little more informed before I started, that's all.

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nealric
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby nealric » Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:38 pm

They are generally pretty pointless, and nothing like law school. But if it makes you excited, go ahead.

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beach_terror
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby beach_terror » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:46 pm

I'm currently in an environmental law class to see if it's something I'd like to pursue in law school. As long as you learn out of a legitimate casebook, it's a good exposure to the material. I like getting a "feel" for the style of reading I'll be encountering for law school and boosting my legal vocabulary some. As long as you know you aren't learning it like you will in law school, you can't really go wrong.

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of Benito Cereno
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby of Benito Cereno » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:50 pm

at my UG many of the classes from our T14 law school were cross listed as graduate philosophy or political science classes (stuff ranging from constitutional law, to public policy/government function, legal theory, legal history, etc). As I was a philosophy/political science student I just had to ask the department for permission to take graduate classes (usually just a formality for advanced undergrads) and thus ended up taking 9 or so actual law classes taught by law profs. If you have similar opportunities I'd suggest taking them. Also, law professors often teach law-related courses to undergrads that are worth taking. At yale, for example, Amar teaches an undergrad course on constitutional law. Pretty damn sure that's not just a vacuous waste of time.

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traehekat
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby traehekat » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:58 pm

I have taken two business law class, a Constitutional law class, an introduction to law course, and a number of policy courses. While none of them were really anything like law school (from what I know, at least), I found them interesting and they really reinforced my desire to attend law school.

I do have to say though, my Constitutional law class was PRETTY close to what an actual law school class might be, but we had a legendary professor. He didn't use the Socratic method, but he taught straight out of a casebook and every day we basically had a new case assigned we would have to read. It was really tough stringing all the cases together and making sense how they all stood in relation to each other, but it was enjoyable. The midterm and final were hypothetical situations created by the professor and we would have to spot every issue we could and discuss it. The more we wrote, the better. Anyway, this was definitely my favorite class I have taken as an undergraduate.

Most classes aren't going to be like this, however. Even though our introduction to law course was taught by a professor at our law school here, we didn't use a a casebook or anything like that. Rather, we just went through the basics of torts, civil procedure, contracts, family law (the professor is a family law expert), etc. We were introduced to a few landmark cases, but most of it was just covering the elements of things. That said, I do think it is beneficial to enter law school with SOME idea of the law. I've always wondered how many students enter law school and have no idea what a tort is...

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JusticeHarlan
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby JusticeHarlan » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:20 am

I took one, taught exclusively for undergrads by law professors. I thought it was quite good: reading cases, Socratic method and being called on cold, exams were law school style, etc. Until/unless I actually wind up at a real law school class I'm unable to say whether it really was like the real thing or just appeared to be, but at this point I'd say it was a worthwhile experience.

Norwood
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby Norwood » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:17 am

law and economics course!!!

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Aeon
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby Aeon » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:26 am

I can't imagine that it would hurt to take a law-related course in college, all other things being equal.

lawman335
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby lawman335 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:34 am

this is a pointless and nothing like school.
But if you are interested in it then u can go ahead.........

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deneuve39
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby deneuve39 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:36 am

Norwood wrote:law and economics course!!!


I took this at my school and it actually was kind of helpful for Contracts. I also took a philosophy and law class in which we read some stuff that's come up in Con law. I think they're helpful b/c they give you a flavor of the type of stuff you'll be studying in law school, and you'll probably focus more on the policy aspects of law--which is something that's good to have in the back of your head for exams but isn't discussed in the law school classes themselves as much.

runn3rs
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby runn3rs » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:01 am

The key is to find a class taught with caselaw. I've taken courses where we read Greek philosophy on 'the law' and I've also taken classes where we fly through 5 cases per day. Law students who I've spoken to who took the caselaw class as UG said that the depth and analysis required for LS was very, very similar.

If you get experience reading and understanding cases, I can't see how it wouldn't help you at least get a jump on your 1L peers.

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mikeyp
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby mikeyp » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:25 pm

scionb4 wrote:I know that taking legal classes in undergrad will not help you at all in gaining admissions to law school, not will they help you at all in passing classes in law school. But, just to get a better grasp on the legal system and to brush up on skills necessary to be a litigator (ie: arguing, public speaking, mediating) I decided to take three pre-law classes my last semester (as in right now) just to get my mind thinking about the law. Anybody take legal classes in undergrad? Were they any good? Or is it utterly a complete waste of time, and I should have taken guitar lessons, a photography class, and a class on Greek Drama or something that I would find interesting before the hell that is law school? I just wanted to be a little more informed before I started, that's all.
THAT'S the key point right there.

I didn't take any in undergrad, but a bunch of my friends did, and they said it did help as far as facts go. While it won't help you in performance, being familiar with certain parts of the material or certain cases (i.e. Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Ed, Roe v. Wade) certainly will make you feel more comfortable.

I think the best thing though would be classes on government. I didn't take anything on government since high school, and you definitely need to be pretty familiar with the way our government works.

Norwood wrote:law and economics course!!!
+1 for economics

scionb4
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby scionb4 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:27 pm

mikeyp wrote:
scionb4 wrote:I know that taking legal classes in undergrad will not help you at all in gaining admissions to law school, not will they help you at all in passing classes in law school. But, just to get a better grasp on the legal system and to brush up on skills necessary to be a litigator (ie: arguing, public speaking, mediating) I decided to take three pre-law classes my last semester (as in right now) just to get my mind thinking about the law. Anybody take legal classes in undergrad? Were they any good? Or is it utterly a complete waste of time, and I should have taken guitar lessons, a photography class, and a class on Greek Drama or something that I would find interesting before the hell that is law school? I just wanted to be a little more informed before I started, that's all.
THAT'S the key point right there.

I didn't take any in undergrad, but a bunch of my friends did, and they said it did help as far as facts go. While it won't help you in performance, being familiar with certain parts of the material or certain cases (i.e. Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Ed, Roe v. Wade) certainly will make you feel more comfortable.

I think the best thing though would be classes on government. I didn't take anything on government since high school, and you definitely need to be pretty familiar with the way our government works.

Norwood wrote:law and economics course!!!
+1 for economics


I should have taken the business law courses.

Underoath
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby Underoath » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:19 am

I'm currently taking international law, legal research, and corporate law. I will admit it is BORING, but I have no desire in pursuing a career in corporate/int'l law. These were the only classes open to take. I would much rather take torts or family law which isn't offered until next year.

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bees
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Re: Legal classes in Undergrad

Postby bees » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:27 am

I took two con law classes where we were cold called and had midterms/finals that were hypos.

I took a supreme court class in which we were assigned cases the sc was set to hear and had to argue to the class as tho they were the justices. We had to prep using the lower courts' opinions, amicus briefs, etc. We also had to write cert memos. One of the professors had clerked for the sc. We also had to write an opinion for the case we argued.

I took a crim law class that was worthless (probably because it was taught like a regular college class).




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