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2 hours ago, UAbear2018 said:

A factum is essentially a statement of your argument on a case. As a component of the first year curriculum, every 1L participates in "moot" court proceeding, for which you will need to write a factum. The factum and moot are completed in pairs. It will be roughly 20 pages of writing, split between you and a partner, about a legal topic that you will argue before a panel of mock judges.

Thanks! Sounds kind of intimidating haha. Are your partners assigned for you?

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6 hours ago, bigfudge2017 said:

Thanks! Sounds kind of intimidating haha. Are your partners assigned for you?

Yeah.

You'll randomly be assigned a partner from your learning group for the factum. You share a grade for the written portion but receive an individual grade for the oral arguments. 

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It's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds. LRW is designed so no one can fail and there's a lot of support to help you if you have any problems/questions. 

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14 hours ago, Toad said:

Yeah.

You'll randomly be assigned a partner from your learning group for the factum. You share a grade for the written portion but receive an individual grade for the oral arguments. 

 

3 hours ago, UAbear2018 said:

It's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds. LRW is designed so no one can fail and there's a lot of support to help you if you have any problems/questions. 

Thanks 🙏 is the topic of your own choosing? Or are you given a specific case or area of law in which to research because otherwise that seems rather broad

also, coming from sciences my writing style has always been pretty direct in terms of presentation and analysis. Are we expected to use a lot of prose or anything of the sort? Just wondering if I need to practice my writing skills a bit prior to September 

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Posted (edited)

Legal writing is very focused on using plain language, writing your point first, and removing excessive wordiness. 

The factum assignment is about appellate advocacy. You'll be given a decision from the fictitious University of Alberta Court of Appeal and have to write an appeal either for the appellant or respondent. There will be two clearly identified main issues and you and your partner will get to choose how to distribute the work. 

The link below (at the bottom of the page) contains an example of a University of Alberta Court of Appeal decision that was used as the basis for the factum assignment in the 2017-2018 school year. It also contains sample respondent and appellant factums from students who scored in the top 10% of the class. 

https://www.ualberta.ca/law/current-students/competitive-moot-program/brimacombe-selection-round

Edit: When I have a bit more time I will probably write a post in this thread about what to expect for LRW where I briefly explain the assignments people will be expected to do. May be useful for people who stumble upon this thread in the future. 

Edited by Toad
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5 hours ago, bigfudge2017 said:

 

Thanks 🙏 is the topic of your own choosing? Or are you given a specific case or area of law in which to research because otherwise that seems rather broad

also, coming from sciences my writing style has always been pretty direct in terms of presentation and analysis. Are we expected to use a lot of prose or anything of the sort? Just wondering if I need to practice my writing skills a bit prior to September 

The language you use when writing will be worth a fraction of the content. It will always help you to be a better writer, but I wouldn't go so far as to say you should spend your summer practicing writing. I can speak with authority when saying you do not need to do anything academic in the summer leading up to 1L in order to excel in your classes, even LRW. Like Toad said, legal writing is moving towards what they like to call "plain language" writing. There isn't a particular quality you need to practice in order to become a better plain language writer. In my experience, the obstacle to effective plain language writing is comprehension. If you don't understand something, it's hard to distill it. Save your mental energy this summer and use it when reading the materials required to do assignments next year. 

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12 hours ago, bigfudge2017 said:

 

Thanks 🙏 is the topic of your own choosing? Or are you given a specific case or area of law in which to research because otherwise that seems rather broad

also, coming from sciences my writing style has always been pretty direct in terms of presentation and analysis. Are we expected to use a lot of prose or anything of the sort? Just wondering if I need to practice my writing skills a bit prior to September 

The topic this past year was a Brooklyn 99 themed Mr. Big operation! The prof for LRW loves memes and has a great sense of humor.  Take the course seriously though, it will give you valuable skills for summer positions and articling if you plan to seek those. 

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12 hours ago, Iheartcats said:

The topic this past year was a Brooklyn 99 themed Mr. Big operation! The prof for LRW loves memes and has a great sense of humor.  Take the course seriously though, it will give you valuable skills for summer positions and articling if you plan to seek those. 

 

19 hours ago, UAbear2018 said:

The language you use when writing will be worth a fraction of the content. It will always help you to be a better writer, but I wouldn't go so far as to say you should spend your summer practicing writing. I can speak with authority when saying you do not need to do anything academic in the summer leading up to 1L in order to excel in your classes, even LRW. Like Toad said, legal writing is moving towards what they like to call "plain language" writing. There isn't a particular quality you need to practice in order to become a better plain language writer. In my experience, the obstacle to effective plain language writing is comprehension. If you don't understand something, it's hard to distill it. Save your mental energy this summer and use it when reading the materials required to do assignments next year. 

 

On 5/22/2019 at 11:25 AM, Toad said:

Legal writing is very focused on using plain language, writing your point first, and removing excessive wordiness. 

The factum assignment is about appellate advocacy. You'll be given a decision from the fictitious University of Alberta Court of Appeal and have to write an appeal either for the appellant or respondent. There will be two clearly identified main issues and you and your partner will get to choose how to distribute the work. 

The link below (at the bottom of the page) contains an example of a University of Alberta Court of Appeal decision that was used as the basis for the factum assignment in the 2017-2018 school year. It also contains sample respondent and appellant factums from students who scored in the top 10% of the class. 

https://www.ualberta.ca/law/current-students/competitive-moot-program/brimacombe-selection-round

Edit: When I have a bit more time I will probably write a post in this thread about what to expect for LRW where I briefly explain the assignments people will be expected to do. May be useful for people who stumble upon this thread in the future. 

thanks guys you've really been helpful.  @UAbear2018 perfect! the general consensus from people was that i should relax, i certainly dont plan on reading cases or anything but its good to know there is also no pressing need to practice writing.

@Toad i think that LRW thread would be much appreciated because i think a lot of people, including myself, dont really have a clue of what to expect. 

@Iheartcats NOICE! Smort! (i love b99)

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20 hours ago, bigfudge2017 said:

 

 

thanks guys you've really been helpful.  @UAbear2018 perfect! the general consensus from people was that i should relax, i certainly dont plan on reading cases or anything but its good to know there is also no pressing need to practice writing.

@Toad i think that LRW thread would be much appreciated because i think a lot of people, including myself, dont really have a clue of what to expect. 

@Iheartcats NOICE! Smort! (i love b99)

My writing is garbage. I did well in law school but avoided paper courses. During articles, a partner recently asked me if English is my first language (...it is). There's a thread around this board discussing improving your writing skills - it doesn't hurt.

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Is anyone able to provide any information on the mentorship program? The prospectus mentioned that first year students would be paired with an upper year student and a faculty member, but was somewhat vague on details. Are we just randomly matched? Is it just a case of here is this person’s email contact them if you have questions or is there more to it than that?

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2 hours ago, Oilersfan94 said:

Is anyone able to provide any information on the mentorship program? The prospectus mentioned that first year students would be paired with an upper year student and a faculty member, but was somewhat vague on details. Are we just randomly matched? Is it just a case of here is this person’s email contact them if you have questions or is there more to it than that?

So the short answer to this, like just about every other element of law school, is that the available mentorship programs will provide what you put into it. There are (at least) three mentorship programs available to incoming first year students. First, you can sign up to be paired up with a peer mentor. This will be a randomly assigned upper year whose contact information will be provided to you. You're able to reach out to them with questions, etc. If you're lucky, you may be paired with someone who goes above and beyond, consistently checking up on you, but that's highly unlikely. 

The next option is the faculty mentor, who will likely reach out in the first month or so of law school to meet up with their assigned mentees. Like above, what you get from this relationship depends on what you want from it. My experience is that professors are more than happy to provide mentorship regardless of whether they've been assigned to you. If some random professor has been assigned to you and you don't jive well with them, you can always seek similar support from a professor of yours. 

The last option is through the CBA, where you can be matched with a practicing lawyer in the area. They will likely reach out to you to meet up toward the beginning of the year, and can be a useful resource if you have questions about practicing, etc. This will be semi-randomly assigned. You're asked to enter the practice areas that interest you, and from within the mentors who have signed up, they try to match students to someone fitting that profile. 

 I had all 3 this past year. I reached out to them at points and did receive help, but it's a relatively inorganic way to form that sort of relationship. It's useful to the extent that you're able to essentially force someone to help you because they signed up to, but I found in the faculty that people are more than willing to provide mentorship and guidance whenever needed. In that sense, nearly all of the professors and upper years I have relied upon were not those assigned to me. My personal recommendation would be to find people who fit well with you and ask them for help. Making these connections with peers/upper years can be made really easy by joining clubs/teams. With professors, it's as easy as showing up to office hours and indicating a sincere engagement and interest in the material. 

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30 minutes ago, UAbear2018 said:

So the short answer to this, like just about every other element of law school, is that the available mentorship programs will provide what you put into it. There are (at least) three mentorship programs available to incoming first year students. First, you can sign up to be paired up with a peer mentor. This will be a randomly assigned upper year whose contact information will be provided to you. You're able to reach out to them with questions, etc. If you're lucky, you may be paired with someone who goes above and beyond, consistently checking up on you, but that's highly unlikely. 

The next option is the faculty mentor, who will likely reach out in the first month or so of law school to meet up with their assigned mentees. Like above, what you get from this relationship depends on what you want from it. My experience is that professors are more than happy to provide mentorship regardless of whether they've been assigned to you. If some random professor has been assigned to you and you don't jive well with them, you can always seek similar support from a professor of yours. 

The last option is through the CBA, where you can be matched with a practicing lawyer in the area. They will likely reach out to you to meet up toward the beginning of the year, and can be a useful resource if you have questions about practicing, etc. This will be semi-randomly assigned. You're asked to enter the practice areas that interest you, and from within the mentors who have signed up, they try to match students to someone fitting that profile. 

 I had all 3 this past year. I reached out to them at points and did receive help, but it's a relatively inorganic way to form that sort of relationship. It's useful to the extent that you're able to essentially force someone to help you because they signed up to, but I found in the faculty that people are more than willing to provide mentorship and guidance whenever needed. In that sense, nearly all of the professors and upper years I have relied upon were not those assigned to me. My personal recommendation would be to find people who fit well with you and ask them for help. Making these connections with peers/upper years can be made really easy by joining clubs/teams. With professors, it's as easy as showing up to office hours and indicating a sincere engagement and interest in the material. 

Thanks for your reply! On a somewhat related note, do office hours tend to have lineups or are they not that busy? Did you find the professors to be generally helpful with material during office hours or is it a sort of, I’ve been involved with x topic for 20 years and find it easy how can you not understand it already vibe? Just asking as that always tended to be my experience during undergrad.

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1 hour ago, Oilersfan94 said:

Thanks for your reply! On a somewhat related note, do office hours tend to have lineups or are they not that busy? Did you find the professors to be generally helpful with material during office hours or is it a sort of, I’ve been involved with x topic for 20 years and find it easy how can you not understand it already vibe? Just asking as that always tended to be my experience during undergrad.

Depends on the prof and time of year. Some profs are more helpful than others and some times of year they are busier than others. Some of them don't set rigid office hours but are easily available by appointment. During midterms/exams, office hours will invariably be busier than usual, but still easy to get in to. I find that the best way to have a productive conversation during office hours is to ensure I have compiled clear, narrow questions. It facilitates much more directed conversations and professors tend to be happier to help students who appear to be making efforts to learn rather than simply coming to them asking to be taught the entire course material. For example, I would not go to office hours simply asking for them to explain a topic. I would read about the topic, develop questions I had about it and go to them for clarification/discussion on specific issues I had.

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Hi 

Thanks for the answers regarding the travelling.

I have a few questions about the law-study.

1. Besides the CAN on the law student society website, is there any other source which can help with our future study?

2. Friends from other law-schools told me that I should try to get the summary of cases of the upper year students. How does this work in UoA?

3. Is there any video recording for the lawschool classes by the school? I know Osgoode let their students have access to some videos and I usually feel much more comfortable with being able to listen to part of the lecture a few more times in order to fully comprehend it. (I rely heavily on video during my master study in a science major and it helped me tremendously)

4. Any tips for people who sucks at writing in general? (I'm a non-native speaker so academic writing is always a weak part)

5. How to better prepare for exams from the first day of the law-school?

Thanks very much

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8 hours ago, andrewhl said:

Hi 

Thanks for the answers regarding the travelling.

I have a few questions about the law-study.

1. Besides the CAN on the law student society website, is there any other source which can help with our future study?

2. Friends from other law-schools told me that I should try to get the summary of cases of the upper year students. How does this work in UoA?

3. Is there any video recording for the lawschool classes by the school? I know Osgoode let their students have access to some videos and I usually feel much more comfortable with being able to listen to part of the lecture a few more times in order to fully comprehend it. (I rely heavily on video during my master study in a science major and it helped me tremendously)

4. Any tips for people who sucks at writing in general? (I'm a non-native speaker so academic writing is always a weak part)

5. How to better prepare for exams from the first day of the law-school?

Thanks very much

 

Aside from the LSA website, I know of no generally accessible database of CANs, but literally any upper year you ask will give theirs to you. However, as you'll be cautioned, much of the value in preparing a CAN is in actually organizing it yourself, not simply having it. 

 

I'm not sure what you mean by summary of cases. In effect, a CAN should provide what I imagine your friend to mean by a summary of cases. Though, the above caution applies here as well. Learning to summarize cases yourself is as important to learn as the substantive material in 1L. You'll forget nearly everything substantive that you learn. What's important is gaining the skills. 

 

To my knowledge, no classes are recorded by audio or video. You may be able to arrange recordings with your particular profs, but given how conversational some lectures can be, the profs may wish to have the entire class agree to being recorded. 

 

I find that the best way to improve my writing is to a) read good writing and b) try to emulate it. Maybe pick a topic or two that you are really interested in and try to write a persuasive blog-post about it. For example, if you're just fascinated by cyberbullying, you could write a post about something like the failure to adapt legal institutions to respond to the evolving context in which harassment occurs. Again, learning what you're writing isn't that important, but the process of reading quality writers and formulating your thoughts in a systematic fashion will serve you well. It has certainly helped me. 

 

Quoting advice I've given elsewhere: While it's not that hard to understand cases, it's not that easy to understand how everything fits together. Doing well on exams, IMO, tests more the latter than the former. I got the highest mark in multiple of my 1L classes (not trying to brag, just a fact), and it was largely because I spent so much time focussing on understanding the big picture. If you can find a room with huge whiteboards, they can be useful for helping you see everything and forces you to literally fit the concepts into the "bigger picture".

In essence, my advice is to spend more time focussing on the big picture than the minute details. Once you have the picture developed, fill it with as many details as you can, but the order of priority should be understanding how things fit together, THEN figuring out the particular elements of each case/section. I do this by building flowcharts/checklists for the various units throughout the semester. As I have time to read cases closely, I will fill in these charts/checklists with particular details so I can draw analogies on the exam. 

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12 minutes ago, UAbear2018 said:

In essence, my advice is to spend more time focussing on the big picture than the minute details. Once you have the picture developed, fill it with as many details as you can, but the order of priority should be understanding how things fit together, THEN figuring out the particular elements of each case/section. I do this by building flowcharts/checklists for the various units throughout the semester. As I have time to read cases closely, I will fill in these charts/checklists with particular details so I can draw analogies on the exam. 

I appreciate this! Thanks 🙂

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Hi everyone, how do we register for courses for 1L for September? on Beartracks, it says that department administer that. Also, it seems that we need to do a course in Foundation of Law between Sept. 4-12, what days of week? Thank you!

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17 minutes ago, Legaleager said:

Hi everyone, how do we register for courses for 1L for September? on Beartracks, it says that department administer that. Also, it seems that we need to do a course in Foundation of Law between Sept. 4-12, what days of week? Thank you!

Well as for your first question you answered it yourself. The department will handle our 1L registration. 

as for your 2nd question bear tracks says it’s Monday-Thursday with a final exam on Sept 21

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9 hours ago, bigfudge2017 said:

Well as for your first question you answered it yourself. The department will handle our 1L registration. 

as for your 2nd question bear tracks says it’s Monday-Thursday with a final exam on Sept 21

thank you for your response.

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On 6/12/2019 at 12:37 PM, Legaleager said:

Hi everyone, how do we register for courses for 1L for September? on Beartracks, it says that department administer that. Also, it seems that we need to do a course in Foundation of Law between Sept. 4-12, what days of week? Thank you!

Just to add to another post's comments, your timetable will likely appear on Beartracks around the end of July/early August. 

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