importance of outlines?

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HarlandBassett
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importance of outlines?

Postby HarlandBassett » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:18 am

I noticed when I read threads on how to do well in LS, it almost always involves obtaining an outline from someone who took the course w/ the same professor.

1. How often are these outlines swapped between students in that semester and across semesters?
2. Wouldnt the professors catch on and change the final exam?

HBK
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby HBK » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:27 am

1. All the time. Although some 1Ls may be less likely to share with other 1Ls. 2Ls will gladly share their old outlines. Also, if I made my own outline, I won't share with anyone else until next year.
2. Outlines aren't really a cheat sheet with all of the exam answers. Most professors will let you use commercial study guides on the exam if you choose. Outlines are supposed to be your condensed notes from the semester. The law doesn't change much from year to year, so professors have no real reason to change their exams. It's understanding how the law applies to facts that will determine your final grade, not your outline... Although making your own outline is the best way to memorize the law.

As far as obtaining outlines, I find it helpful because it's possible that another student from the previous year caught something that I didn't. Or, the professor may have spent more time on a topic the year prior and he/she was rushed for time in your semester. Also, sometimes comparing discrepancies between your outline and another will encourage you to research the law on your own or talk to your professor to clarify any holes in your understanding.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby HarlandBassett » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:41 am

well that leads me to my next question.

It is fair to say that most people in the T14 LSs come from a upper middle class background. Thus, they most likely would know ppl who have gone to law schools and can attain outlines from 2Ls from that school or from other schools.

Is it fair to say that poor Asians that go to T14s are disadvantaged in that they dont have the connections (that the upper middle class students have to land those outlines) or institutional opportunities afforded to them (URMs)?

HBK
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby HBK » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:09 am

No, that's stupid. None of the outlines I acquired came from anyone I knew prior to coming to law school. In fact, unless you know someone a year or two older than you, their outlines are likely crap anyway (book editions change, different cases).

Additionally, there are generally Asian law organizations that will share outlines with their members. You make the connections the first day you walk on campus. This isn't like a fraternity test bank type thing, and you aren't disadvantaged if you are poor or Asian.

Most schools pair 1Ls up with mentors and the mentors will help you find outlines as well.

Most 2Ls are more than willing to help. All you have to do is be nice and willing to ask.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby HarlandBassett » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:45 am

ok, that was exactly what i wanted to know. :D
I was afraid my line of reasoning was wrong and in this case you definitely corrected me.

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kalvano
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby kalvano » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:13 pm

My mentors sent all their mentees a bunch of outlines.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby HarlandBassett » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:47 pm

How do I assess the quality of the outline that is given to me?

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quakeroats
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby quakeroats » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:51 pm

HarlandBassett wrote:How do I assess the quality of the outline that is given to me?


How shiny is the paper?

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kalvano
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby kalvano » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:59 pm

HarlandBassett wrote:How do I assess the quality of the outline that is given to me?



If it's not on letterhead and embossed, I would be highly suspicious.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby HarlandBassett » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:54 pm

I would only accept perfumed ones on pink paper.

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kalvano
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby kalvano » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:27 pm

Just follow along in class for a while, referring to the outline.

Does it follow what the professor is saying? Is organized like the professor organizes their lectures?

If so, it's probably good.

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Cupidity
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby Cupidity » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:34 pm

I didn't read the responses, so I apologize if this has been stated.

The value in outlines isn't having them (I outlined for my closed note class) the value is in making them. Creating an outline is a structured way to do a comprehensive review of a course, with the added benefit that you have a source you organized and understand to use on your final. That said, the outlines themselves in open note exams may be an impediment. Many students over-rely on them, and waste a lot of time that should be spent typing flipping through pages.

Using another persons outline is a horrible idea. I committed to not outlining for one class, got scared the day before and attempted to get an outline. Even after review, I took a practice exam and realized I simply couldn't use it in a fast and sensible. I faced the test sans outline and it was my best grade, and probably the best in my section.

Outlines are least useful on heavily concept based courses, which in my case were contracts and crim law (though that may vary based on your teacher). They are most useful in doctrinal courses, like property with its laundry list of rules, or civil procedure. (Lets face it, the Eerie Analysis isn't going to suddenly change on your final).

Just my thoughts.

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kalvano
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby kalvano » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:01 pm

I like other people's outlines for helping me make mine and follow along in class.

For instance, I missed torts today. But I have an outline from a girl from last year that tells me the important stuff I missed.

But yes, making your own outlines is invaluable.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby Kilpatrick » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:04 pm

I made my own outlines for every class and found it really helpful but I know people who used other peoples outlines and they did just as well. Personal preference I think.

savagecheater
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby savagecheater » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:24 pm

Use an old outline as your companion for class. Fill it in with things you find significant that the previous author didn't note.

Then take that outline, if it's formatted well, use the same structure, and make your own using that format with YOUR notes.

Compare the one you made to the one you had previously, make adjustments, and you'll be so much the better.

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vamedic03
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby vamedic03 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:34 pm

I always make my own outlines.

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rdcws000
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby rdcws000 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:25 pm

I didn't use anyone else's outlines in my first semester, not because I am against it or anything, I just didn't find a time where I thought I needed one. I can see how they could be a valuable resource at the end of the semester once my outline was already complete, just to check if my structure was good and didn't miss anything major.

I bought 2 commercial outlines for my first semester on the advice of law school confidential, and I never cracked them. What good is a 300 page outline? Honestly I could not figure out why I would ever look at those outlines. Now I can't even sell the pieces of crap.

I'm a believer so far, that everything I need to know for the exam will be discussed in class or in the reading, so my class notes and case briefs inform my outline, and I fear I could be including information I don't need by using other sources.

I was satisfied with my performance, so I plan on doing about the same this year.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby HarlandBassett » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:13 pm

rdcws000 wrote:I bought 2 commercial outlines for my first semester on the advice of law school confidential, and I never cracked them. What good is a 300 page outline? Honestly I could not figure out why I would ever look at those outlines. Now I can't even sell the pieces of crap.

so what did LSC say that made you buy it and what was the reality?

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HarlandBassett
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby HarlandBassett » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:16 pm

the stuff he talks about is quite cutthroat and shady

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBiXp7FkJwE

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Veyron
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Re: importance of outlines?

Postby Veyron » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:20 pm

HarlandBassett wrote:I noticed when I read threads on how to do well in LS, it almost always involves obtaining an outline from someone who took the course w/ the same professor.

1. How often are these outlines swapped between students in that semester and across semesters?
All the time, most schools have outline exchanges for just this purpose

2. Wouldnt the professors catch on and change the final exam? Each first year class has a "core" of issues. You can test them in different ways, but the rules are pretty consistent from year to year.


That being said, the trick is to make your own outline synthesizing several older ones as guidance.




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