Law School, Year One Notes

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, since a friend asked me to provide my outline for Constitutional Law, and I’ve decided to provide all of my law school notes and disseminate as much knowledge as I can through this blog, along with its accompanying YouTube Channel (I’ll post videos from that soon enough).

Constitutional Law Notes

For this class, I had Professor Rush, and I received an A, so I hope you will find them useful. My exam material is not included.

On a personal note, Professor Rush is universally beloved, and if you get the opportunity to take any of her courses, I strongly encourage it.

Contracts Notes

For this class, I had Professor Zheng, a learned and enthusiastic instructor, and I did reasonably well (A-). I should note that he also teaches Secured Transactions, a valuable course I hope to take in the future.

Criminal Law Notes

For this class, I had Professor Nunn, one of the wittiest professors I’ve ever had for a course. In spite of (or perhaps because of) his sparkling sense of humor, I managed to pull out another A-.

Torts Notes

For this class, I had Professor Noah, a passionate lover of his subject. I’ve never heard of anyone else being so enthusiastic about torts, and it made the material much easier to absorb. I enjoyed his style and his subject, and they resulted in an A for me in the class.

Property Law Notes

For this class (in which I got a B+), I had Professor Klein, who in addition to being a property law expert can also tell you a great deal about environmental and water law. Don’t worry, you don’t have to learn it all in her office hours; she has other courses!

Civil Procedure Notes

For this class, I had Professor Lear, one of the most interesting and quotable instructors I’ve ever encountered. At least one of her catchphrases was stuck in my head until just this minute, I swear… I think I also learned a thing or two from her course, since I managed an A- in it.

I strongly recommend visiting all of these professors in their office hours, because even the best lecturer or the most involving speaker will be unable to communicate fully all of the material they want to without detailed, and preferably one on one, conversations with the audience members.

Above, please find all my (digitized, but hand-written) notes from the substantive classes of my first year of law school. I hope they won’t be terribly difficult to read, but inevitably, my hand-writing will be an obstacle for some people.

How to Work a Room Notes

As you may know, it is sometimes imperative (or at the least, valuable!) to network as a lawyer. For that reason, I recently read up on best practices when networking.

Below are the most useful tips I garnered from reading Susan Roane’s book, How to Work a Room, in both video and text forms:

Pre-Event

  • Consider bringing a buddy.
  • Arriving on time minimizes stress from being in a crowd.
  • It’s rude not to respond to an RSVP request.
  • Plan both event activity and follow up.
  • Always bring cards.
  • Read professional journals for conversation topics.
  • Use other people’s stories, and prepare jokes. Don’t complain about things.

During the Event

  • A good self-introduction lasts 7-9 seconds, begins with your name, and establishes what you have in common with other people at an event.
  • Look for people standing alone.
  • Try to behave as a host (meeting people, starting conversations, introducing others, and making sure people’s needs are met) rather than a guest.
  • Try to have a little banter ready.
  • Ask relevant questions, but not too many.
  • Ask groups if they don’t mind if you join them. No one ever says no to this, but don’t do it if people’s backs are to the room.
  • Excuse yourself by saying “Nice to meet you,” followed by a summary of the conversation.
  • Thank the actual host before leaving.

After the Event

  • Send physical thank you/condolence cards, not texts or emails.
  • Consider making a rolodex of contact information.

Everyday (and additional notes)

Use Twitter. Follow people. Add thoughts and links to valuable articles, videos, and information as Tweets, and retweet others.

Susan Roane has a chapter on speaking for an audience too, and one on trade shows.

 

What I Learned on the First Day of Orientation

On the first day of ILSP (Introduction to Law School and the Profession), I learned a good number of lessons about law school, and perhaps more importantly, about my eventual future conduct as a lawyer. Always nice when they make these events worth our time (and the speakers’).

For my career as a law student, I learned:

    • To read cases over and over and over…
    • But not let it take over my life

Overload Cartoon

    • To pad my resume with extracurriculars
    • Specialize as quickly as is reasonable
    • Expand my social networks
    • And work with professors
    • Yet not lose the chance to participate in preexisting hobbies

Choose 2

    • Not to pay other people to write my assignments
    • Not to destroy other students’ study materials

destruction

    • Not to go against professors’ strongly held political views
    • And to follow the advice from 1L of a Ride. The book was written by a former UF professor, and most of the advice from the presentations repeated points that he made. Further, the book has additional advice that seems even more valuable after attending Day 1 of ILSP.

For my future career as a lawyer, I learned:

  • Not to lie to the bar committee
  • Not to yell at opposing counsel
  • Not to fight opposing counsel
  • Not to tear up evidence
  • Not to be a jerk

Basically, remember what you learned not to do in kindergarten.

My Reasons for Attending Law School

In the next few weeks, I’ll begin my first semester studying at UF’s Levin School of Law. I finally became a Gator after all.

It’s an exciting moment for me, and it will change the rest of my life. It’s also a strange moment. This morning, I left Philadelphia, where I received my higher education, and lived with my girlfriend, Monica, for years. In many ways, Philadelphia had become more familiar to me than my hometown of Orlando.

The decision to attend law school was not an easy one to make. Even with the scholarship I’ve received from UF, I’ll need to take on additional debt to pay for room and board. This exacerbates my existing debt problem, at a time when my girlfriend and I felt we were on the verge of being able to get that problem under control.

Besides, most of the lawyers I’ve spoken to say the job market in the profession is as bad as they’ve ever seen it. So why take this risk?

There were many reasons:

  • I wanted to do something I’d be good at and enjoy doing;
  • My family wanted to see me go for it;
  • I can almost certainly make more money as a lawyer than I have been so far;
  • Law school represents a second chance at studying hard and networking well, which I failed to do in college;
  • The amount of debt I’ll be taking on is a fraction of the debt I already had;
  • And I didn’t see a whole lot of direction where I was. At least as a lawyer, I’ll know where I stand, and have some idea of future career options.

Are these reasons foolish or ill considered? Perhaps.

Am I in for disappointment when I get to where I’m going? Maybe.

But this I know to be true: I’m ready. I’m ten times as prepared for academic challenge as I was when I graduated high school. I’ve seen the lawyer movies, I’ve read up on the legal world, I’ve spoken with numerous lawyers, and I know what I’m getting into. Ultimately, the main X-factor in my decision is me, and my sense of my own preparation for this situation.

There’s never been a better moment, and this moment will never come again.