For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

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Grad09
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Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:17 pm

For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby Grad09 » Sun May 23, 2010 1:26 pm

As a TLS lurker and incoming law student, I've read all the "how to succeed in law school" articles. A common theme among them is not emphasizing cases because they are not tested on the exam. They are useful for class prep, but waste valuable time that can be spend learning black letter law, concepts, principles, etc.

I also understand the exam is worth 100% of your grade. You are not graded on class participation.

Suppose a student doesn't read the casebook. When he gets called on during class, he puts up an intelligent but vague response, because of his lack of knowledge on the case. The professor picks him apart. It happens repeatedly throughout the semester. That student, however, can write one hell of an exam.


Come exam grading time, the professor will know the student by name. He will deserve an A-. Just as he goes to write the grade, the professor remembers how he never read the cases. He thinks of the student as one of those people that try to cheat the system or cut corners. He isn't taking law school seriously. After all, the professor read all the cases when he was in law school! Does this person deserve an A-?

The professor proceeds to give the student a B+, a notch above median.


I'm trying to highlight a way that not reading the casebook can give you a bad impression from the professors point of view, thus lowering your grade. Any truth to this? Anyone with a similar experience?

Thanks for the insight.

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Matthies
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Re: For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby Matthies » Sun May 23, 2010 1:34 pm

Grad09 wrote:As a TLS lurker and incoming law student, I've read all the "how to succeed in law school" articles. A common theme among them is not emphasizing cases because they are not tested on the exam. They are useful for class prep, but waste valuable time that can be spend learning black letter law, concepts, principles, etc.

I also understand the exam is worth 100% of your grade. You are not graded on class participation.

Suppose a student doesn't read the casebook. When he gets called on during class, he puts up an intelligent but vague response, because of his lack of knowledge on the case. The professor picks him apart. It happens repeatedly throughout the semester. That student, however, can write one hell of an exam.


Come exam grading time, the professor will know the student by name. He will deserve an A-. Just as he goes to write the grade, the professor remembers how he never read the cases. He thinks of the student as one of those people that try to cheat the system or cut corners. He isn't taking law school seriously. After all, the professor read all the cases when he was in law school! Does this person deserve an A-?

The professor proceeds to give the student a B+, a notch above median.


I'm trying to highlight a way that not reading the casebook can give you a bad impression from the professors point of view, thus lowering your grade. Any truth to this? Anyone with a similar experience?

Thanks for the insight.


Most 1L classes, except legal writing, will have anonymous grading. Your given an exam number and that is placed on your exam and no other realiving information is given. Debates rage on how anonymous this really is, I have had professors tell me they can, easily, if they wish, find out who a student is.

Second you will probably get cold called 1-3 times a semester in a class. The rest of the time if you want to comment it will be raising your hand.

Finally, I don't personally agree with the idea of not reading cases, I think reading the opinions are where you get the "thinking like a lawyer" skill. However, one could possibly make it through 1L just using supplements and BLL. 2L and 3L elective courses however not so much, there are not as many supplants for as many topics. I guess if you stuck to just "bar" classes there are enough supplants to maybe do this for most, but not all, of your classes.

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Paichka
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Re: For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby Paichka » Sun May 23, 2010 1:36 pm

Dunno about other schools, but we have blind grading at my school. The scenario you just listed wouldn't happen, because professors don't find out how you did until they turn the grades in to the records office.

Matthies beat me to it -- I agree with what he said. I always read all the cases, and I cited cases where applicable on the exam, too. That makes me a little different from the majority of TLS posters.

Esc
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Re: For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby Esc » Sun May 23, 2010 1:44 pm

All professors reserve the right to lower a final grade where the student was exceptionally unprepared throughout the semester - but this is generally reserved for when a student does something blatantly wrong and disrespectful, and as far as I am aware is not at all a common practice. At my school, the exam is graded blindly, but professors get to see students names once raw grades are assigned, and then have a chance to adjust final grades before submitting them.

The real danger (grade-wise) is not that the professor will think little of you because of your failure to prepare for class, but that your failure to prepare for class will make it harder to understand the material - and believe you me, you don't want to be trying to learn, say, 28 U.S.C. Section 1367 (supplemental jurisdiction) from scratch three days before your CivPro exam, all because you didn't want to read UMW v. Gibbs or Exxon Mobil v. Allapattah the first time and so you blanked out during the lecture.

How thoroughly you need to read the cases will vary completely by the individual class and the individual professor's teaching style, of course. It completely depends on how your professor wants you to learn it. In some classes, you can pretty much go for weeks at a time without cracking open the casebook. In others, you are damned to confusion if you don't read every day.

Oh, and keep in mind that there is more to doing well in class than getting good grades. Professors remember students who speak clearly, intelligently, and correctly in class, and write letters of recommendation accordingly.

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1ferret!
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Re: For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby 1ferret! » Sun May 23, 2010 1:50 pm

All grading at my school is anonymous. Discretionary points are awarded in some classes for participation, some will deduct if you suck or haven't been showing up.

My preferred method: Read case briefs, check out the outline to understand what the law is, read the supplements if you need help understanding whats going on or how it fits into the big picture. Then there are usually notes at the end of cases in the case book. Can you answer them? If not, then maybe you want to go back and read the case in its entirety, or just skim it for the relevant info.

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yinz
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Re: For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby yinz » Sun May 23, 2010 1:55 pm

Matthies wrote:Most 1L classes, except legal writing, will have anonymous grading. Your given an exam number and that is placed on your exam and no other realiving information is given.


I hate when my information is realived. It's like, why won't you just stay dormant or dead?

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Matthies
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Re: For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby Matthies » Sun May 23, 2010 2:30 pm

yinz wrote:
Matthies wrote:Most 1L classes, except legal writing, will have anonymous grading. Your given an exam number and that is placed on your exam and no other realiving information is given.


I hate when my information is realived. It's like, why won't you just stay dormant or dead?


it would take you litteraly years to fix all the misspelings in my posts, YEARS!

Aqualibrium
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Re: For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun May 23, 2010 2:43 pm

Grading is blind, but a prof can tell the registrar to either raise or dock a specific student's grade by .3. The prof will never know what that student's ultimate grade is though (well until grades are actually released I mean).

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orangeswarm
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Re: For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby orangeswarm » Sun May 23, 2010 10:34 pm

Just make sure you know enough about a case to not sound completely stupid in class. As long as it appears you've read the case, you will have nothing to worry about. It isn't that hard to read a canned brief (heck, even the ones on lexis are usually good enough) and still be able to focus primarily on the exam.

blsingindisguise
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Re: For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue May 25, 2010 12:21 am

In one of my 2L classes I was not only unprepared on the day I was called but was memorably rude to the professor (I hadn't really meant to be, but I was ill and lightheaded, and she was staying on my case about not knowing stuff and not letting up). I still wound up with an A. I think profs give an occasional bump up, but a bump down is almost unheard of.

revolution724
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Re: For those that do NOT recommend emphasis on the casebook

Postby revolution724 » Tue May 25, 2010 12:30 am

Some schools have anonymous grading at the time of the exam and then allow the professor to make minor adjustments based on class participation.

Some professors want you to use case names on the exam.

Some give multiple choice questions that almost exactly mirror the cases you read.

Up to you, but I'd predict you'll be doing yourself a disservice both in exam prep and in just having the whole experience of law school.

Of course, my grades aren't super, so what do I know? Good luck, let us know how it works out for you.




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