Sunday, November 1, 2009

Law School Tips #1

Something Else #1 - Law
I'm not quite sure which category this post falls into. It's not just general rambling, nor is it bar chatter or political. Maybe I had another category somewhere but I'm too lazy to look right this second.

First year law students, here is a quick bit of advice.

Start your outline now.
- Seriously. You need to do your complete outline, copying it over if that's all you do, but do it twice each weekend. Add in the little bit for this week, and then write it over from scratch. Your outline is your bible. And the more times you look at it, the better you will do. Law school isn't undergrad. I remember one undergrad class I only went to for the last review session before the for tests and the tests. You cannot do this in Law School. I know you're overworked as it is, but believe me, now is the time. Hell, now is almost too late! Start your outline now, even if you can't take it into the test with you. The repetition will ingrain it in your mind.

Read your professor
- Each professor is different. I had one prof who gave tests with references to the Three Stooges and German Opera, in the same question. I had another who sounded like a mix of Richard Pryor, Bernie Mack and old preacher. And yet another who was a good ole boy who mixed in jingoism and good old common sense. Each one's test was different, but looking back I realized that they telegraphed how the test would be during class. Some personality traits shine through. The good ole boy's final was straight forward, just like his teaching. The property prof with the Hawaiian shirt collection and the great stories, loved answers with great stories and odd references. Read your prof, learn what he likes. It will be on the final.

- Some call them horn books, or treasties or whatever, but you need them. Reading cases cold is hard. You didn't get it. You know you did get it, but you're wrong. Go to amazon and pick out the matching supplements for your casebook and order it now. Then read the case - read the case synopsis - and read the case again. You'll be surprised at what you miss. Don't use the supplement as a substitute, ever...but use them.
- Sidenote: only take the supplement to class if you sit in the back.

- Law is a funny animal. Sometimes I think some folks got out of law school only because they lucked out with a slow bunch. You're all in the pit together. The curve is set by whoever is best, so you need to get to running now. You want to do better than everyone else, but you need everyone else to assure your own survival. You need a "study group" and by that I mean you need another set of eyes, so one other person is enough. I personally don't have a "study group" but I do have folks I will talk an issue over with. And it's different people, so I get different perspectives. And different answers. And in law, the more answers the better. Most times.

A few quick one liners to get you through. Just remember you're doing this for the greater good of humanity. Besides, even if you quit now, you'll still owe the student loan.

No comments: