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DukeOfJoe

Critique My Approach to 1L

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2 hours ago, WindsorHopeful said:

Honestly, find some good quality CANs for each class and just build off of them. There are so many versions of top notch 1L CANs out there. I guess summarizing each case may be beneficial for some people but it seems like a waste of time to start from scratch. The most helpful thing for me during 1L was just taking the best CANs for each cource, editing them with notes from class, then creating a short style summary (~15 pgs) for each class before the exam. 

For exams, don't jump into the IRAC method. Some professors love it, some really don't. They will likely let you know (or someone will ask). When possible, I do think the IRAC method is the easiest way to approach a hypo exam.

How do I go about getting CANs? Do you recommend I look online, find someone in the school, etc? 

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Just be a real student, do the readings and your own case briefs before the lectures that you 80% attend and you're good to go. The headnote of every case should clarify any confusion you may have. 

If you're super keen, you can pick up a treatise, textbook or other resource (e.g. upper-year summary) for specific issues.

You and others are right that not all aspects of a case are relevant for exam purposes. The facts, I find, tend to not be useful unless your prof structures a fact pattern based on very similar facts which should jump out at you anyways. I nonetheless briefed facts, some cases more than others 

Edited by Trew
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I'll add that everyone reads this type of advice and thinks they can apply all of it prior to 1L (myself included), but when it's mid-November and you're juggling several courses, exam prep, volunteer commitments, and the rest of your life, it's a different story. Try not to perfect a study plan right now, because chances are your 1L year isn't going to go perfectly and you'll adjust as you go.     

Edited by Tagger
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Oddly enough, I found that adding my analysis section into tables really helped me distinguish certain principles I knew I would be applying. But the process of inserting and adjusting tables is a huge waste of time. I only did it because I was inside all day from covid. 

Edited by Trew

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17 minutes ago, evo2019 said:

 

- work on improving your typing speed; law exams are all about writing concisely and efficiently - high WPM will help here. Most A- and up exams I've seen are all around the 4000 words / 2 hour exam mark. 

 

This. So much this. I love this. 

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5 hours ago, capitalttruth said:

How do you find the best CANS and how do you know they are from the top students from previous years?

Personally, I did not care where my CANs came from. Frankly, I couldn't tell you where most of them came from or how well they did.

What I did do was cross-reference. I would compare CANs with each other, stuff from the internet, and my own notes. If they were saying the same thing then I was able to trust them more. You'll even find that many CANs have the exact same content as each other or pull from the same sources that you find. 

What ends up happening, at least with me, was that I would create my own CANs using a mix of all the resources that I had. 

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I just finished 1L and all I can suggest for you is to relax. I'm not trying to come off as rude but I genuinely mean that. What might possibly happen is that you will create this rigid plan for tackling school, just to throw it all out in your first week. 

Start by talking to upper years in your school. See what they thought of professors, how they approached 1L, and things that they avoided. That is the best way in my opinion. I had different styles of case briefing for contracts than I did for criminal. Likewise, property was much different than constitutional. It had to do with different teaching styles and just what I knew was needed for the exam. For exams, just talk to your professors. Again, different professors like different things. On one hand, I had a professor who would give marks for people who kitchen-sinked answers. On the other, I had a professor who would penalize students for doing the exact same thing. So the IRAC and FIRAC methods you speak about are good to have a general idea but are by no means things that you should live by.

I have never heard of anyone using commercial outline at my school. To be honest, I don't even know what that is. Please don't pay money for these. Also, don't read the entire case if you don't need to. Most text books use case excerpts which include only what you need. Going into read the entire case will only confuse you more - especially early on when you don't know why you're reading a case. Some cases can stand for multiple things so it's best to refer to the textbook at the beginning. 

In terms of outlining, do whatever you like. Early in first semester, I would outline before every class. I would come prepared with outlines and then add to them during the class. As I got better at pulling information from cases, the frequency of outlining and length of my outlines shrunk significantly. I went from about a page per case to a couple lines at most. By November, I would outline when I felt like it. That's it. If that meant once a week, once a month, or sporadically throughout the semester, that's what I did. By second semester (and I'm not proud of this), I waited until a few weeks before finals because I knew what I was capable of doing. In the end it all worked out. 

 

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