LSAT Kung Fu Blog / Semester 2, Week 1: Easier
Semester 2, Week 1: Easier
The first week of the 1L Spring semester was SO MUCH easier for me than the first week of the 1L Fall semester. Possible reasons:
- I knew what I was doing this time. I didn’t try to read for every nuance. I had a very good idea about which ideas from the reading the professors would want to talk about, and which parts were likely to be less important. I’ve read many dozens (hundreds? Maybe?) of cases now. I know how to read them. Here’s a really good example of what I’m talking about: some cases (as they’re reproduced in our casebooks) do not anywhere indicate which of the named parties is the defendant. Now, this would be easy to suss out if they were lower-court records: the plaintiff is always named first (in Hall v. Mothra, Dave Hall is our heroic plaintiff suing wicked defendant Mothra. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID MOTHRA). However, the cases in law school casebooks are all appellate opinions, which muddies the water: in some jurisdictions, when a case is appealed, the case name doesn’t change (so when Mothra loses at trial and then appeals, the appellate case is still named Hall v. Mothra). That makes sense. But in other jurisdictions, they keep the naming convention, not the name itself (in other words, since Mothra’s the one bringing the appeal, Mothra is acting like a plaintiff, and so on appeal, the case gets a new name, with the appellant first: Mothra v. Hall). This also makes sense. Either way is fine, but it’s confusing that both methods are in operation, particularly because there are cases that don’t make it clear who is whom (whom is who? Whom is whom? Who is who? Who cares?). In the first few weeks of the Fall term, I spent time (sometimes a lot of time) trying to figure out which party was which. That was wasted time, and I know that now. There are other examples, but you get the picture.
- The material is just actually easier. At my school, the hierarchical courses (Torts II, Contracts II, etc.) are not built on their antecedents in any foundational sense. In other words, you don’t need to have taken Civ Pro I in order to understand Civ Pro II (in fact, as if to demonstrate this thesis, my school recently swapped the material between those two courses. What I’m now studying in Civ Pro II used to be taught as Civ Pro I). Maybe the stuff we’re learning the semester (or at least the first week of the semester) really is just easier than the stuff we learned last term.
- My teachers are better this term. I don’t really buy this one. So far, I like my professors this term roughly as much as I liked the ones I had last semester, but that’s not why I don’t buy it. Particularly I don’t credit this explanation because my section does have one repeat professor, and his class is definitely one of the classes that seems so much easier than the class he taught us last term. So, this is a possible explanation and I’m therefore including it, but I don’t think it likely plays much part in actually explaining this feeling I’m having.
- I’m just more relaxed. This has something to do with point 1 above. I’m not worried about what they want from me. I know, more or less, the reading style and comprehension level and note-taking that is rewarded. I’m also able to budget my time accordingly. Oh! That reminds me! Starting this semester, I’ve decided to begin keeping track of how much time I spend law-schooling. Every week, I’ll post the number of hours I spend in class, studying for class, and doing other law school stuff (last week, for example, that included working on my résumé/transcript/cover letter and also working with my Mock Trial team). Week One figures were: Class: 7 hours; Study: 2.25 hours; Other: 10 hours; Total Law-Schooling: 19.25 hours. Keep in mind that Week One was a short week (we didn’t start class until midweek at my school).
- It’s all in my head. Maybe it’s just me? Maybe it’s not substantively different from the beginning of last term? Maybe I spent so much time doing Mock Trial (which is hard for me because there’s so much there for me to learn), that the “school” parts of my first week back just seemed easier by comparison? Plausible!
Anyway, those are my best guesses. Can you think of something I overlooked? I feel like while I was in it last week, I thought of one or two other possible contributing factors, but I can’t access them now (YOU SEE WHY I INCLUDED POINT 5!).
Questions? Comments? Complaints? Post them below, or shoot me an email.
Be good to one another, for we need it now more than maybe ever,
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