The best way to read in law school is 3,400 feet away from your computer. "Why", you ask? Quite simply because you end up like this----reading Gibbons v. Ogden, which ofcourse appears to be written in the most archaic form of [insert language you don't even remotely speak] and itching to do anything else [i.e, writing in blogs]. I think it's time for a few pieces of law school advice, I'll be doing this periodically because I keep getting calls requesting "advice" and I have this funny feeling they're only going to increase. Furthermore, the posts will be in no coherent order and will be tidbits of wisdom that randomly occur to me.
For the incoming 1L
1. Don't type out briefs. Unless you know what you're doing, it's virtually useless. What's more, it provides a crutch such that you will copy and paste these briefs into your final exam outline and never digest the cases again. As the author of "Law School Confidential" recommends, you should 'techni-color' brief. Now, this isn't a biblical rule, some of you will still want to write a compendium longer than the case itself. That's fine, you'll find your way second semester. I, for one, like to highlight in the following: Facts + Procedural History Issue Rule Court's Reasoning (however strange) Holding (aka disposition of the case) Furthermore, you should take any notes or comments you think of while doing the reading on the margins in Blue. Why? Because when you go back and outline ALL your info will be on the "home base" - i.e., in the book which will become a sacred object to you. Also, if the professor says "On page 78, Justice Scalia refers to...." What do you do? You jot that down in Red. Again, when finals time hits (and it will, like a ton of books or a blizzard) you'll have everything in one place.
2. Don't be one of those people who transcribe class. Ok, people. This is controversial. BUT here's my point. The clicking is annoying. Further, if you're typing every potentially baseless comment every classmate makes, you're not participating in the fantastic "Socratic method". And the Socratic method isn't just a cruel tool for humiliation (I know it totally seems that way sometimes), it really can be a learning experience (OK, too much, I know). When the professor asks "Jimmy, what do you think the dissent is trying to accomplish here?", rather than typing your little heart away you should answer the question in your head---anticipate Jimmy's response. Now, it's likely Jimmy will have a better answer than yours. Or just as likely Jimmy will be one of those people who takes every opportunity to go on a jurisprudential tangent. Either way, you'll catch the professor's response to Jimmy, Jimmy's answer, and your brilliant answer. And this, boys and girls, is MUCH more valuable than having a court document of the entire class. With all this said, there are some who will still feel the pressure and insurmountable need to type EVERYTHING. It's OK. You'll find your "groove". I admit that at times I'd love to have one of those transcriber's notes--but my in-class experience catching Jane Austen analogies (Ala "BBC" and Property's Pride + Prejudice) still seems more valuable to me.
I have forsaken you. How could I have so neglected this blog? I must find a 'continuous + systematic' way to update it. For those 1L's out there, please laugh at my halfhearted attempt to reference Pennoyer v. Neff. I am open to any and all suggestions for updates on this blog. PS, I've met a bosom buddy, a kindred spirit, a mirror kind :). AND she lives in my building!
So, I'll put it bluntly readers-
I'm trying to find an appropriate moment to whip out my **drumroll**...rolly bag. Yes, the infamous rolly bag. During my summer legal fellowship in Indiana, I used it. I was needless to say ridiculed. But the benefits to my back far outweighed any negative stigmas I acquired in the process.
Opinions, readers. When is to soon to start making my trek to the law school, rolly bag in tow? I haven't seen any one else with them--other than Elle Woods. I have seen a ridiculous camping book bag. That's analogous? Right?
Please be merciful with your comments---I'm hoping for 2 wks max...my back can't take these books anymore, and lockers, well, lockers scare me.
My dearest reader,
Today was the infamous first day of law school. I sit here blogging after my first and only class for the day, and I must say, am feeling very Carrie Bradshaw. The first week has not been nearly as dreadful as everyone claimed it would be. It's actually been quite uneventful. I sit in wait for the avalanche of cases and briefs to roll down on my tiny person, but nothing comes. Let's hope it remains at the very least manageable.
Expect a post soon regarding my newly furnished apartment. It's not quite exactly the look I had envisioned, but it's a work in progress.
My first class today was Crim Law. It was at the crack of down for a sleeper like me, 8:15. And of course, I managed to wake up early enough to straighten my tresses and have 3 spoon fulls of cereal. Too nervous. I started on my 15 minute walk to the law school...and what do you know it, I've forgotten my book. So very typical of a first day, isn't it? So I run back to the apartment and pick up the 30lb Crim Law book (no exaggeration) which is just about the most annoying shade of red, and head back to school. At this point, of course, I'm cutting it extremely close, and enter class to find that the only seat available is in the galley of the class...ALL THE WAY AT THE BACK. AND I'm windblown so I don't look as polished as I'd like. I hate sitting in the back. It does nothing for my 'scholarly' morale. My head tells me, "you're in the back, with the slackers, the cool kids, surf net". My one reasonable brain cell tells me that's ridiculous. But I digress. I managed to carry on in class without any distractions. Needless to say, the professor did not touch on one single thing in the book. So the run back to the apartment was in vain. No one was tortured with a cold call, and I could hear a sigh of collective relief when the professor asked for 'volunteers'. Mostly it was rhetorical banter, but I found it mildly interesting. Crim Law is definitely not my favorite class, despite numerous years of ardent Law & Order watching. The professor seems like a kind fellow, and has the vestiges of a charming southern accent. That should keep me amused for the first week. I can only see one issue with this class, and that is, that being the ridiculous 8:15 start time, I can hardly keep my eyes open. I am dead sleepy. But yet somehow, the minute I leave class, I'm cheery and as chipper as a chipmunk (which there are a million of) On a more serious note, I do feel that the vibe at ND is quite more humanitarian and merciful, insofar as the professors are concerned, than at other schools. This is definitely a good thing.
I'll keep you updated on my first week. I'm actually done with class for today because my only other class for the week is canceled. Fan-tas-tic! I'll get ahead on reading. For now, I'm going to attempt to employ the Miller briefing method from LSC. Let's see how that fares.