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Sunday, December 26, 2004
I wonder if IU School of Law - Bloomington professor William Henderson feels at all silly for using the Anonymous Lawyer blog in class, supposedly authored by a fictional hiring partner at a large law firm in a major city. It turns out the popular weblog is actually run by Jeremy Blachman, a 3L at Harvard Law School, as reported by the New York Times today. Jeremy's own blog is a good read, by the way.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Conservative students sue over academic freedom
This story from the AP:
At the University of North Carolina, three incoming freshmen sue over a reading assignment they say offends their Christian beliefs.
In Colorado and Indiana, a national conservative group publicizes student allegations of left-wing bias by professors. Faculty get hate mail and are pictured in mock "wanted" posters; at least one college says a teacher received a death threat.
And at Columbia University in New York, a documentary film alleging that teachers intimidate students who support Israel draws the attention of administrators.
The three episodes differ in important ways, but all touch on an issue of growing prominence on college campuses....
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
For Your Entertainment & Education
Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi and Hannah Arbuckle will be on The Montel Williams Show tomorrow to discuss the changes in Indiana's repeat voyeurism laws they fought for. The show will be on at 2 pm Wednesday on WTHR Channel 13.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Calling CivPro scholars!!
No, not to help me learn the material before my final on Monday, but to give opinions on this:
Judge Rules U.S. Detainee May Have Rights
WASHINGTON - A federal judge ruled Thursday that an American held in Saudi Arabia for suspected links to terrorism might be able to challenge his detention in a U.S. court because there is "considerable" evidence U.S. officials were behind the arrest...
The case is believed to be the first to challenge the U.S. government's position that Americans have no access to U.S. courts when they are arrested by a foreign government. Legal experts said it could set an important legal benchmark in the government's worldwide pursuit of terrorists.
Who Needs Law School?
Instead of taking three years of classes and the corresponding finals, why not perform an apprenticeship?
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
(Perfect for the final exam period!)
What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?
Monday, December 13, 2004
Yes, Another Exam Tip
I'm back with more after all. But this time, a friend of mine came up with the advice. Check it out at Waiting for the Punchline. I could never have come up with something so practical and comforting!!! Hang in there, people.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Supreme Court to hear file-sharing case
(AP) - The Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider whether two Internet file-sharing services may be held responsible for their customers' online swapping of copyrighted songs and movies.
Justices will review a lower ruling in favor of Grokster Ltd. and StreamCast Networks Inc., which came as a blow to recording companies and movie studios seeking to stop the illegal distribution of their works.
Read the rest...
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Many thanks to Blawg Wisdom for the kind words and praise.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
A Different Kind of Advice*
In the words of Tracey Ullman: Go Home!!!
I left the library last night (in a semi-comatose state) at about 11:15pm. As I left, I passed a guy sprawled out on one of the couches doing a half-sleep/half-open my eyes and see who's passing by sort of thing.
OK, kid, go home. I'm not at all against napping in the library - I love to do so, in fact. But we're talking during the day when I either have another class or more studying to do and so can't yet go home. But 11:15? He had only 45min before the library closed and he was clearly not doing anymore studying. Definitely time to call it a day. Don't let this happen to you!
*I give up on the exam tips. I got busy studying for my own. I'm always happy to spout exam advice, so if you were looking forward to more feel free to e-mail me.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
How To Get Securexam To Work Properly
If you have not installed Securexam yet please go here, click on "Using Computers For Exams," log on using your ID and password, scroll a third of the way down the screen and select the "Download Securexam Student Software" link.
For those who have used the Securexam software in the past, or those new to the experience, you know Securexam is a temperamental piece of software. Everyone has heard or seen the horror stories of it locking up at either the wrong time or simply refusing to shut down properly. The following tips helped many students ensure that Securexam behaved properly or something close to properly.
For those unfamiliar with Securexam it will appear like a very depowered version of Microsoft Word. Most of the features you are used to will not appear. Forget about tabbing between windows as the Securexam window is the only thing you can access.
"Son, we need to talk about this Supreme Court obsession of yours"
This is The Onion at its finest:
Son, could you come in here for a second? Well, I'm sorry, but that newspaper's just going to have to wait, because we really need to talk. Son, your mother and I have been worried about you. Your grades have been slipping, you've been spending less time with your friends, and you've been shutting yourself in your room for hours at a time. Now, I know it may make you feel uncomfortable to talk about it, but this Supreme Court obsession of yours has become a problem.
Read the rest...
Picture's worth a thousand words
Friends and family often ask me what law school finals are like. Now I have a picture that sums it up perfectly.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Study Tip: Take a Break!
Taking the exam is one part, but studying for it is another. Here is my tip: KNOW WHEN TO STOP! Despite your desire to study 24/7 in order to absorb all the material know when to take a break. You mind becomes less efficient after time so take a quick mental rest. This could involve anything from taking a walk outside for 20 minutes, washing the overflowing pile of dishes in your sink, giving a friend, relative, or loved one you have not spoken with for several weeks a quick call, or even a quick nap. The point is to let your mind decompress for a short time. Do not think about the legal material at all as the point of this exercise is to let your mind switch gears for a bit. At the end of your quick break I hope you'll feel somewhat refreshed and ready to tackle another bit of your outline.
When it is late at night go ahead and let yourself sleep instead of trying to slog through the material for another hour. Being as well rested as possible during finals will help you during your study periods and when taking the exams themselves. Being well rested allows you to comprehend the material much better. I believe it is better to have 80% comprehension of 70% of the material than to have 60% comprehension of 90% of the material. Every professor I am aware of prefers a more in depth analysis of fewer issues than a cursory analysis of most of the issues. Of course, if you know there are possibly more issues, but are running out of time, do mention them at least. It lets the professor know that you do see those issues.
Finals are a marathon, not a sprint. Please know how to pace yourself to reach the finish line.
Exam Tip #2: Answer the Question
Pay attention to what is being asked of you. Sometimes either test anxiety, haste, or just plain carelessness can send the best of students off and running on a great essay answer. Problem is, they aren't answering the question being asked.
Before reading the entire fact pattern, skip to the bottom and check out the call of the question - the line that states exactly what your prof wants. Your prof may ask for all claims, all interests, all defenses, etc... or he may ask you to put yourself in the place of the jury, an advocate, or the judge. If you read the call of the question first, it will help you remember exactly what question(s) you are supposed to be answering. It will also help focus your reading - you can begin making relevant notes (mental or otherwise) as you read, and you'll know exactly what you're looking for in the fact pattern.
Monday, December 06, 2004
A cool new blog...
Richard Posner's new blog effort is off the ground, and he's teamed up with economist Gary Becker
Exam Tip #1: You Already Know the Answer*
I know this sounds silly. Many of you may throw up your hands and declare "that's not real advice - I need real advice!" But this revelation, made while studying for 2nd semester exams of my 1L year, helped me decrease my anxiety and concentrate on producing comprehensive, complete, and organized answers to exam essay questions.
The concept is this: each semester there is only a finite number of subjects around which your professor can craft a test question. And of course, you already know what those subjects are. Check out your syllabus or the table of contents of your casebook. Make a list of possible exam topics and realize that there are less than you may think. Take cues from what topics your prof spent the most time on in class, what topics are most important overall, and what topics appear in old exams (if available) to determine which ones are most likely to be covered this time around.
Then, after putting together your outline, force yourself to practice answering an essay question about each topic - even without a fact pattern to solve. I used to have the problem of worrying about what kind of question the prof was going to come up with. I would despair because I knew there was no way to anticipate the fact pattern and the intricacies it might involve. Then I realized the specific facts didn't make as much of a difference as I thought.
I already knew what topics were going to be covered. I already knew what the key points were for each of those topics. I already knew what things my profs thought were important - because they told us during class. I realized I could literally sit down and craft an exam answer of sorts - days before ever seeing the exam.
Don't take this to mean you can prepare complete essay answers before the exam and expect to waltz in, throw in a few names from the fact pattern, and waltz out with an A. I don't think it's quite that simple. Your professors will be looking for your complete analysis of not only the concepts and elements of a particular problem, but also of how the particular facts of the question might influence the outcome. But do realize you can develop a framework for dealing with exam questions. Figure out how to transition between topics, draft an intro of sorts to a complex topic like personal jurisdiction, consider how best to work public policy implications into a particular discussion.
This might be simplistic advice for some, stuff that many of you figured out long ago. But for me, realizing that my profs were constrained in developing exam questions - that the possibilities weren't quite endless because my profs were forced to wrap fact patterns around the rules we had learned in class - helped me relax a bit (not too much!) and concentrate on preparing to create solid answers to essay questions.
*It's the last day of classes at IU-Indy. This is the first post of at least 1 exam tip a day for the rest of the week. These tips have worked for me and I hope a reader or 2 finds at least one of them to be helpful or reassuring. But as always, what worked for me may not work for you. Good luck to everyone taking finals!!!
Outlines! Get your outlines...
By suggestion, I'm starting up an "outline bank" here on Sapere aude. So, if you have an outline for a class here at the law school that you would like to share, you may e-mail it to me, and I will link it here. I will organize them by course, professor, and text authors.
Also, for sources of free outlines on the web, I suggest the Internet Legal Research Group and the 4LawSchool Outline Bank. Many of these outlines are organized by textbook.
Friday, December 03, 2004
Where're the cigars?
Congratulations to Professor Cooper, the proud father of new born Samantha.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Is the Controlled Substances Act constitutional?
Jonathan Adler, an associate professor at the Case Western University School of Law, questions the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), in this column at NRO. The primary issue involved is federalism.
In the case before the Supreme Court, Ashcroft v. Raich, a medicinal marijuana user is challenging enforcement of the CSA, which would preempt a California law permitting a patient to use marijuana if prescribed by a doctor.
Adler argues that a high court ruling upholding the CSA would be a massive blow to our nation's balance of federalism:
Like most federal regulatory statutes, the CSA was enacted pursuant to Congress’s power to “regulate commerce...among the several states.” As currently understood, this clause grants Congress the broad power to regulate commercial enterprises and other activities that have a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce. There is little question that this entails the power to regulate the production, distribution, and sale of pharmaceuticals, particularly insofar as medical markets are of national scope. . . .
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Safety Tip For The Day
It is the first snow/slush/ice of the season. If you are at home reading this before coming to class please take some extra time on the road and go at a reasonable speed. There is no need for you to kill yourselves just to get to school. The parking lots also have some icy spots so be careful when walking especially if you are a woman in heels or a man in dress shoes. Some spots have little traction. You have been warned so you are now assuming the risk.