0L Prep

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SherlockShokralla

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0L Prep

Post by SherlockShokralla » Tue May 14, 2019 10:12 pm

So, I'm pretty set on prepping for 1L, and I already know the 3 subjects that will be taught in the fall. My question is why do a lot of the guides recommend to read all 6 E&E books? Is there an extra benefit to reading all 6 before 1L, or did they just not know what classes they were going to take?

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BeeTeeZ

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by BeeTeeZ » Tue May 14, 2019 11:10 pm

SherlockShokralla wrote:So, I'm pretty set on prepping for 1L, and I already know the 3 subjects that will be taught in the fall. My question is why do a lot of the guides recommend to read all 6 E&E books? Is there an extra benefit to reading all 6 before 1L, or did they just not know what classes they were going to take?
1L courses always include torts, civ pro, property, contracts, crim, and con law. When you take each course depends on your school/section, so such guides wouldn't prescribe studying one subject over/before another.

FWIW, I have no idea what guides you're talking about, and I think it would be a waste of time to read E&E's during 0L.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by SherlockShokralla » Tue May 14, 2019 11:27 pm

BeeTeeZ wrote:FWIW, I have no idea what guides you're talking about, and I think it would be a waste of time to read E&E's during 0L.
I'm referring to Arrow's and Ken's. Both reference some intense 1L prep, but I was wondering why all the books if you'll only have 3 in your first semester. Also, I understand that 0L prep isn't usually recommended but I'm not really reading them to "learn" the law. I'm reading primarily to just get train myself to sit down and read and to familiarize myself with terms and rough concepts. Is that good?

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by Sls17 » Wed May 15, 2019 1:24 am

I seriously doubt that will be a good use of your time before classes start. You may very well wind up confusing yourself or burning out early. I urge you to just enjoy yourself until classes start, at which time you’ll be immersed in this stuff and figuring it out with plenty of support, guidance, and reinforcement.

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cavalier1138

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by cavalier1138 » Wed May 15, 2019 6:07 am

SherlockShokralla wrote:I'm reading primarily to just get train myself to sit down and read and to familiarize myself with terms and rough concepts. Is that good?
No.

There is literally no point to doing this.

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MrAdultman

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by MrAdultman » Wed May 15, 2019 10:30 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
SherlockShokralla wrote:I'm reading primarily to just get train myself to sit down and read and to familiarize myself with terms and rough concepts. Is that good?
No.

There is literally no point to doing this.
+1

Read Getting to Maybe if you want. I found it helpful. I also found the TLS/TLS guides helpful, just because it's good to come in on day one knowing what an exam is and how to tailor your study to excelling on them. Reading the E&Es is at best overkill, and at worst counterproductive.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by WinterComing » Wed May 15, 2019 2:22 pm

MrAdultman wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
SherlockShokralla wrote:I'm reading primarily to just get train myself to sit down and read and to familiarize myself with terms and rough concepts. Is that good?
No.

There is literally no point to doing this.
+1

Read Getting to Maybe if you want. I found it helpful. I also found the TLS/TLS guides helpful, just because it's good to come in on day one knowing what an exam is and how to tailor your study to excelling on them. Reading the E&Es is at best overkill, and at worst counterproductive.
+2

Agree exactly with what Adultman said. I found Getting to Maybe helpful, and maybe there are other similar guides that could be useful. But don't do anything substantive on the law. I think it's likely to be counterproductive because (1) you might confuse yourself, (2) you'll do best if you learn the subjects in the way that your professor teaches them, and (3) 1L is long and draining and starting early means you might be dragging at exam time.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by mjb447 » Wed May 15, 2019 2:55 pm

+3. Law school isn't that different from undergrad in this respect: sure, the 1L curriculum is far more standardized from school to school, but you have no idea what your prof is going to focus on or what they're going to find interesting, and remembering/regurgitating that (with respect to a new fact pattern) is where the points are at exam time. (And this can extend all the way to "terms and rough concepts" - my torts class basically never learned about any of the intentional torts, and my property class was easily less than 10% interpretation-of-wills stuff.) There's a decent chance of lulling yourself into some false sense of security and an even stronger likelihood that you'll at least be wasting your time. If you're going to read beforehand, probably better to focus on (1) guides to doing well in law school, as others have said; (2) more general interest writing that will keep up your close reading and analysis skills; and/or (3) stuff you enjoy that you simply won't have time for once 1L starts.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by 265489164158 » Thu May 16, 2019 9:41 am

I would get in the habit of reading a daily newspaper and possibly the New Yorker, but would not try to teach yourself from guides or supplements. Professors want their phrases and explanations on your mind, not something from an E&E. Just try to enjoy your life for now.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by lawhopeful100 » Thu May 16, 2019 10:36 am

For what it's worth, I prepped before law school and thought it helped. Finished about top 3% after 1L year at a T1 regional school (I was a 2016 grad). I read the E&Es, and looked at the hornbooks for the 1L subjects and read getting to maybe a few times in the spring of my last year of college because I had a really low key schedule my senior year. Then over the summer I would take all the practice tests I could find that had sample answers (back when I did it I think Berkley had a bunch online). I would echo what I think others have said that your teachers will likely teach their own version of your course, so I wouldn't get caught up on like knowing the law cold or remembering specifics. Rather, I thought the important point for me was just practicing taking law exams. I prob had done 25 or so before 1L started, and most people prob hadn't taken more than 2 before fall finals. Again, this all might not have made a difference, but I think law exams are like anything else where practice gets you better, and I thought taking a bunch over the summer helped. I also think having a general familiarity with the principles of 1L classes made learning them easier, but that may be a side point.

Edit: Btw, I think this topic has been addressed a bunch of times on this forum, so you can probably search prior threads if you want more opinions.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by SherlockShokralla » Thu May 23, 2019 10:55 pm

Thank you so much everyone! I appreciate your advice and perspectives, it’s helped calm a lot of my nerves down. I wanted to start early because I guess I wasn’t happy with my performance in Undergrad, and wanted to really start law school with a bang and do much better. I can see now that I might have to rethink how I’m going to get myself in shape for 1L. I’ll definitely read Getting to Maybe and just look over law exams to get a good idea. Thank you :)

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by DrLeoSpaceman » Mon May 27, 2019 2:31 am

I've seen so many threads where people insist that prepping before 1L is counterproductive because professors have idiosyncratic ways of teaching the law, and so you'll have to re-learn it in the fall, or you'll just confuse yourself, etc. But these posters don't consider that "black letter law" is, by definition, well-settled law. Until the ALI comes out with a new Restatement of Contracts, the definition of promissory estoppel (for instance) will remain largely the same. This isn't to say that different professors won't put their own spin on the concept (i.e. covering different cases, asking for more or fewer case citations in exams, etc.). But, the basic doctrine is the same among every class in every law school in every jurisdiction (save for civil-law Louisiana?). Moreover, the material on the Uniform Bar Exam is precisely the same no matter where you take it, right? By just reading the Examples and Explanations you can learn first-year doctrinal courses well enough that you can pass the sample UBE sub-tests on this site: https://barprephero.com/. And if you can start out with a basic working understanding of BLL, then the next time you review the material you will be a step ahead. While others are working to figure out what "specific in personam jurisdiction" even means, you can begin to concentrate on "higher-level" issues: how different iterations of fact patterns would have affected the outcomes of cases, how competing public policy interests have shaped the law, and how a given case fits into the broader structure of the class. All of this is to say, I think there is some benefit to 0L prep, contrary to the common wisdom

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by cavalier1138 » Mon May 27, 2019 7:15 am

DrLeoSpaceman wrote:But these posters don't consider that "black letter law" is, by definition, well-settled law. Until the ALI comes out with a new Restatement of Contracts, the definition of promissory estoppel (for instance) will remain largely the same.
Perhaps consider that you, a 0L, might not know as much about this subject as people who have been through law school.

For example, most of what you said is just wrong. Courts don't wait on ALI to publish a new Restatement to determine the law. Knowing the definition of something before encountering it in class isn't all that helpful. Learning to think about black letter law in the way bar prep courses teach it could be extremely detrimental to your law school exam results.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by nixy » Mon May 27, 2019 8:09 am

Even if you can learn enough from E&Es to be able to pass the bar, being able to pass the bar doesn’t actually say anything about how you’ll do on law school exams. They’re actually fairly different (primarily that you’re not graded on a curve on the bar and most law school exams are open book). There really isn’t any purpose to reading the E&Es before 1L, because it’s not going to confer any lasting advantage and yeah, you might teach yourself something counter to how the prof teaches it. Torts is a fairly “easy” class but there is massive variation in how profs approach it. Con law taught by an originalist is going to be different from con law taught by a pragmatist. Besides, plenty of people who end up at the top of their class never did any 0L prep - it’s simply not necessary.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by DrLeoSpaceman » Mon May 27, 2019 11:42 am

I'll admit to a certain level of naivete, and I hope I won't come across as a know-nothing know it all. But my point is that the broad strokes of the classes cannot be THAT different, and so I have to think there is some benefit in gaining a familiarity with the material before getting to 1L.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by nixy » Mon May 27, 2019 11:48 am

Many people think that before going to law school. They change their minds.

The thing is that law school exams aren’t really about knowing the material, they’re about knowing how to approach the material. Learning the literal black letter law without learning how to approach the material really doesn’t help you. You do just as well learning them both at the same time.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by DrLeoSpaceman » Mon May 27, 2019 1:11 pm

@cavalier You’re completely right that courts don’t wait around for a new Restatement to make law. But the point is that certain law is so broadly accepted that a 40-year-old treatise on it is still considered authoritative. New cases are always applying the doctrine in slightly different ways, but the essential underlying rule remains largely the same, yes?

By the way, I took the Contracts course at my undergraduate’s law school so I’m not entirely clueless about this.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by cavalier1138 » Mon May 27, 2019 5:54 pm

Look, you feel free to waste your last real free time before school. You've been warned that this will have a neutral impact at best and a negative impact at worst. Yes, the broad strokes of these classes can be that different.

The advice on this forum regarding not doing "0L prep" comes from people who have already been to law school. We're not secretly your gunner classmates, trying to keep you from the one true secret to good grades.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by 265489164158 » Mon May 27, 2019 6:07 pm

DrLeoSpaceman wrote:I'll admit to a certain level of naivete, and I hope I won't come across as a know-nothing know it all. But my point is that the broad strokes of the classes cannot be THAT different, and so I have to think there is some benefit in gaining a familiarity with the material before getting to 1L.
I think the real danger is that by learning the BLL in advance, you will think you "know" it and then get bored in lecture and not pay attention to what your professor is saying. EVERY PROFESSOR HAS THEIR THING! I cannot stress the enough. They don't want to read a generic BLL rule in your exam; they want to read the definition or rule they spoke in class. You really need to be able to channel your professor's voice (unless it is multiple choice, I guess). I viewed using supplements as a 1L as polluting the waters, so to speak, because I didn't want another definition or rule statement floating around in my brain. If I didn't understand it, I went to office hours and listened to whatever the Prof is saying. It is not necessary to learn the BLL before law school.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by lawhopeful100 » Mon May 27, 2019 7:41 pm

265489164158 wrote:
DrLeoSpaceman wrote:I'll admit to a certain level of naivete, and I hope I won't come across as a know-nothing know it all. But my point is that the broad strokes of the classes cannot be THAT different, and so I have to think there is some benefit in gaining a familiarity with the material before getting to 1L.
I think the real danger is that by learning the BLL in advance, you will think you "know" it and then get bored in lecture and not pay attention to what your professor is saying. EVERY PROFESSOR HAS THEIR THING! I cannot stress the enough. They don't want to read a generic BLL rule in your exam; they want to read the definition or rule they spoke in class. You really need to be able to channel your professor's voice (unless it is multiple choice, I guess). I viewed using supplements as a 1L as polluting the waters, so to speak, because I didn't want another definition or rule statement floating around in my brain. If I didn't understand it, I went to office hours and listened to whatever the Prof is saying. It is not necessary to learn the BLL before law school.
The focus in this thread on the law misses the point imo. 90% of your classmates will know the law come finals time. I thought reading E&Es the spring before helped give me a good background of the principles in the same way knowing the general principles in my litigation specialty now helps me interpret a different state’s case law on the topic, even though there are differences. Still, this is a minor point. If you are going to 0L prep, the focus should be on exam taking skills. Looking at exams, getting a feel for them, and understanding how to apply the law quickly to get points. Any focus on memorizing is is a waste, and will not be how you ultimately distinguish yourself come exam time.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by Bingo_Bongo » Mon May 27, 2019 9:53 pm

Despite the collective wisdom on here, I think there can be some benefit of gently familiarizing yourself with topics before you encounter them. Don't try to cram the black letter law and "master" a topic before you encounter it in class, though.

When I was in law school, the first time I encountered a topic (during class) I was generally a little confused, the second time (reviewing for finals) was better, and the third time (bar prep) was the best. Also, people who had some familiarity with topics ahead of time tended to do a little better. For example, there was a former police officer in my CrimPro class who was an average student, but completely blew everyone out of the water with that subject because he already knew it really well going into law school (to the point he would routinely correct the professor with things -- and actually be right to the point the professor would have to concede). But that being said, he had already gone through a police academy, been to court a bunch of times, and had a working proficiency with those concepts. He wasn't just reviewing books his 0L summer.

There were also some topics that I had advanced familiarity with, and I did best in those topics. But again, my familiarity came from a stronger working knowledge than just reading outlines my 0L year.

Personally, I would just chill out and wait for your 1L year to begin. If you insist on doing something, I would just casually review some outlines and become acquainted with some of the 1L topics, keeping an open mind that what you think you're learning might actually be wrong. Think of it as having a tour at Universal Studios before you go to film school. The tour's not going to really help you really know how to make a movie, but it will expose you to some concepts that might make the reading a tad easier since they'll no longer be 100% foreign to you.

EDIT: Also, I just remembered that in my 1L Contracts class, we had a gunner who apparently read way ahead (probably over summer, or something). He would routinely answer questions in class using concepts that we had not even learned yet. He was always wrong, the professor always got annoyed, and everyone was secretly laughing at him. As a general rule, if your class hasn't learned something yet, don't bring it up.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by LSATWiz.com » Wed May 29, 2019 12:09 pm

I'd read Getting to Maybe. There's no point in learning substantive law before law school, and this is probably counterproductive but I disagree with the consensus about doing 0 prep. I think reading a book that tells you what to expect on law school exams and how professors expect you think is useful before starting law school because it can affect how you see the material from day one. Personally, my pre-law school education consisted of a dual-curriculum school where the focus was on religion, not academics, and art school. Despite my LSAT suggesting otherwise, I was definitely less skilled than my peers going in when it came to reading and writing. You ultimately develop these skills fairly quickly, but I do feel that knowing how I was supposed to think from day one gave me a big advantage. Even at the best law schools, a fairly significant percentage of people obsess over the facts of cases while paying little attention to the nuances of the rules and how they'd apply to different factual situations.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by SilvermanBarPrep » Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:02 pm

I'd imagine there could be a benefit to reading these books before starting the classes, but it's often best to read them as you're moving along in the class. It'll supplement what your professor is teaching you and in that context it'll be far more helpful, I'd say.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by arose928 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:23 am

There are 1 million of these threads on this forum and to be honest, I'm more baffled by the fact that people keep trying to talk 0Ls out of this useless endeavor than I am by the fact that gunner 0Ls somehow think 1) they are going to get a different answer than in any of the previous 1 million threads asking the same thing or 2) they will just go ahead and ignore the advice they just asked for because it's not what they wanted to hear.

They aren't listening, just go ahead and let them read all the E&E's they want! And then cackle when they come back in a year and try schooling the new 0Ls on how it's a stupid exercise.

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Re: 0L Prep

Post by powerwhee » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:37 pm

2L at UCLA with a BigLaw gig lined up.

I studied the BLL before law school extensively (2+ years while working), and concur with the 0L: 0L prep helps one know the broad concepts, in turn allowing one to focus on the Professor’s interpretation of those concepts. It’s that simple. Ad hominem attacks against that poster’s reasoning simply because he is not a law student are illogical, and, to me at least, suggest that something is amiss with TLS’ hive mind as to this specific topic.

For example, the difference between an A- and a B+ might turn on a student’s analysis of “detrimental and justifiable reliance,” which turns on what his professor’s interpretation of that phrase is, which will be informed by the cases taught in class. But the general idea of what promissory estoppel is, as a textual and conceptual matter, will remain substantially the same between jurisdictions and professors. It’s the scope of the phrases that make up the doctrine that change between jurisdictions and professors.

The scope of the doctrine’s text for purposes of the exam will be filled in by the Professor, and that scope is what the 0L who prepped must understand - but the text itself is BLL that the 0L who prepped is already familiar with.

The benefit to all this: with a loose textual and conceptual understanding already in place, the 0L-prepped 1L will be focusing on the contours of the doctrine as interpreted by the Professor during lectures, rather than focusing on remembering that reliance must be both “detrimental and justifiable.”

Sure, it’s neither necessary nor sufficient to do 0L prep to succeed in law school. But it is delusional to assert that having a understanding of a thing you will be studying before hand will somehow not help you at all in excelling against others studying that thing for the first time, and that it may actually harm you on the assumption that one will be so arrogant that they won’t listen to the Professor during lectures.

What if the opposite is true? What if during lectures, because your not straining to understand the concept like 60% of the class is, you have the ability to ask probing questions that test the bounds of the professor’s interpretation of that concept - without the remainder of the students even understanding why your question is relevant? You therefore don’t need to go to office hours. You therefore have more time to take practice exams. You therefore end up constantly ahead of the rest of your competition. At least that’s how it worked for me.

The cost-benefit analysis is not nearly as one-sided as this forum would have most 0Ls believe. It should be noted, however, that the positive effect of 0L study fluctuates based on how difficult the course is - how many doctrinal concepts it has - and the professor’s teaching competency. 0L study won’t help much if you have an amazing torts Professor who lays out everything in detail with clarity in every class. Conversely, it will help immensely if you have a terrible visiting Contracts Professor. So, such study is always a gamble to some degree - but if you have a passion for law, I see no compelling reason not to start reading it early on. It’s a stretch to say you will “confuse yourself.” Sure, you might be confused at first, but eventually you will begin to understand how everything fits together if you keep reading.

And one last point. You’ll always have those that prepped before and those that didn’t. Naturally, each side will defend their rationales for so doing.

But, in my view, instead of asking this forum, you should start thinking like a lawyer now, and perform your own cost benefit analysis. If I were you, I would take into account: (1) your passion for law (linked to burnout); (2) your memory (linked to the benefit attained from knowing the concepts beforehand); and (3) your reading speeding (linked to the benefit attained from reading dense law beforehand).

Some people might have no passion for the law, have exceptional memory and can quickly conceptualize concepts stored therein, and already read at the rate of speed required by respectable law schools. Those people probably will see little if any benefit to 0L prep. But the opposite is also true.

At the end of the day, the answer is it depends. And if you ask me, it depends on applying those three factors, honestly, to yourself.

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