Fall Break and a New Lease on Life(For Now)

I’m assuming that the absence of new blawgs speaks for itself.

I have had zero time to do anything but read, write memos, and worry about all the stuff that I didn’t get to read because I was so busy writing memos.

But now, it’s fall break (insert giant sigh of relief) and I have time to … catch up on reading and outlining!

I’ve managed to get my hands on a few descent outlines, so I’ll post some samples in the next few days.

Until then, enjoy this  informative song about hearsay exceptions:

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So It’s Been a While…

I expected law school to be different from undergrad and far more challenging, but I never expected to actually…have…to…read…stuff.  OK, that’s a lie.  I expected to have to read some, I was just completely unprepared for the amount of reading that I would actually have to do(which explains why I haven’t written in a while).  I have come to the sad, sobering realization that my bullshitting days are over.  I can no longer skim chapters and surf SparkNotes four minutes before class and still be prepared; from now on, this will be nothing but a fond and distant memory from undergrad (tear).

While the bad news is that law school involves ridiculous amounts of reading (did I mention that you have to read every…single…word and that the readings are generously sprinkled with seemingly random bits of Latin and French words with perfectly good English equivalents that you need to stop and look up every two and a half seconds?), the good news is that there are some good tools available to help make life a little easier.

My most recent discovery is OneNote.  This program has been on my computer since I bought Windows 2010 a year ago and I literally just realized it this week.  Thank god.  As you can probably gather from the name, OneNote is a powerful tool that can help keep all of your notes (trust me, there will be lots of notes) organized and has features that can even help you link related notes to make reviewing your notes much easier.  I spent most of my day today organizing my notes for contracts and I can already tell that it will be invaluable when I start making my outline.

Check out this link for specific tips on how to use OneNote.

My other tip: Do not get behind in your classwork.  If you do, you will have no idea of what’s going on in class and will waste all of your class time trying to calculate the probability of the professor calling on you and making you look like an idiot in front of your whole class.

Vale posteram tempus.

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Let There Be Internet! (and Other Comments)

On Internet: So I guess one thing to keep in mind when you’re moving into an off-campus location is to call your internet provider ASAP to set up an appointment for a technician to come over and install the internet.  Otherwise, you’ll end up like me, in the law school library on Facebook trying to like everyone’s status and comment on every new picture while checking email, paying bills and surfing Youtube during the ten minutes between orientation activities because there’s no internet in the house.  (Oh, and FYI, if you get Time Warner’s Extreme internet, don’t be surprised if it’s extremely slow. Pun intended.)

On books: Unfortunately, I’m still waiting on some of my books.  Right now, I’m having the biggest issue with Biggerbooks.com.  I would recommend avoiding them altogether if possible because none of my books have even shipped yet and I ordered them over a week ago.  From what I’ve read on their website, their books ship from an off-site warehouse, which probably explains the delay.

Also, from what I’ve gathered from talking to professors and 2L and 3Ls, it’s better not to buy supplements until later in the semester, when you have a better idea of what you actually need.  

On Homework: If you haven’t checked already, make sure that you know whether or not you have homework due on the first day in any of your classes.  I just found out today that I have homework due in all of my classes.  FML.

On Socializing:I had a sever case of déjà vu when I went out with some of my classmates to meet some of the 2 and 3Ls on Friday.  If any underclassmen are reading this, please note the following: You will still be drinking Keystone Light (or it’s effervescent equivalent) in law school.  Also, start honing your flip cup skills now; they will prove invaluable in the future.

Orientation:Tomorrow is my first official day of orientation (I attended an additional optional orientation this past week, which consisted of mock classes and a mock exam).  I will also get my picture taken.  I am extremely unphotogenic, so I’m probably going to have to get up at six in the morning to practice smiling in front of a mirror for a few hours so that I don’t mess this up.

 

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Book Report

I bought most of my books last night and spent $544.14.   I’m expecting to shell out another $250 to $300 for the remaining books.  I used the following sites to compare book prices (listed in descending order of helpfulness):

directtextbook.com

bookfinder.com

bigwords.com

Cheaptextbook.com

The worst part about this whole book buying process is that many of the latest editions of my required textbooks cost at least $30 while the previous editions cost only a fraction of the price.  

Example: I just bought a book for $181.  The previous edition of that same book, which was published in 2006 (seriously, how much could have changed in 5 years?) costs six dollars with shipping.

The second worst part of this process is ordering from Half.com.  I’ve ordered from them before, but never needed any customer service help.  Today called because I have a question about my order.  Apparently, even if you call their toll free number, which I’m not going to bother posting because of its overall uselessness, it’s impossible to talk to a real person.  If you decide to ignore my warning and order from Half.com anyway, here’s a code to get 15% off of orders of $50 dollars or more: BTSAF15.  Good luck.

If you don’t want to buy all of your books, you also have the option of renting your books.   The sites listed above will also show results of books for rent.  From what I saw, it may be worth it to rent if you are (1) absolutely certain that you don’t want to keep your books (duh) and (2) if you know how long you will need to keep them.  Books are generally rented by quarter or semester periods.   If there’s a chance that you will need to re-rent your book, it’s probably not worth renting it because it will probably end up costing as much or more than actually buying the book.

Some Final Book Buying/Renting Tips:

1)      Expect to spend a ton of money.  No matter how cheap, thrifty or savvy you think you are, you will get owned.  Accept it now, avoid tears later.

2)     Buy your books enough in advance so you actually have them before classes begin.  Websites will usually give you an estimated delivery date (I almost bought a book that had an estimated delivery date of September 8th and my classes start next week.  No wonder it cost only $15.).

3)     Never fill up your shopping cart with books and walk away from the computer to watch Jersey Shore and come back and expect all your stuff to still be there because, odds are, sexyangelbunny85 snatched them up while you were busy watching Ronnie trying to dance.  If you see a book you need at an awesome price, BUY IT NOW!

When budgeting for books, I suggest going by whatever your school tells you.  My school estimated about $1,000 and they were pretty much right on the money.

If you have any suggestions of how to get a good deal on books or have any experiences you would like to share about renting books and 1L books in general, please comment!

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Here We Go

My school’s  law library recommended the following books for summer reading:

An Introduction to Legal Reasoning by Edward H. Levi

Starting Off Right in Law School by Carolyn J. Nygren

The Bramble Bush by Karl N. Llewelyn

Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success by Helene S. Shapo and Marshall S. Shapo

I started reading “An Introduction to Legal Reasoning”, but stopped after about 30 pages because, apart from the court cases it mentioned, it was probably doing more harm than good because I had no idea what I was reading half the time.  On a positive note the court cases mentioned in the book involve the “Inherently Dangerous Rule,” which is interesting because it’s probably part of the reason why so many dumb warning labels exist.

“Starting Off Right in Law School” is a good introduction to law in general so, if you decide to read any of these books, I would recommend this one (I got about 3/4 of the way through it).

I didn’t get past page 10 in “The Bramble Bush”.  I blame the book and the fact that it’s composed of a series of speeches from the 1930s.

I didn’t bother with the other book.

My orientation starts in 5 days. I have not finished one single law school prep book.

I’ve decided to prep by watching as many reality courtroom T.V. shows as possible between now and my first class.  

What I’ve learned so far: Do not fuck with Judge Judy.

I will order books tomorrow.  I’m super cheap/poor, so I’ll be bargain hunting.  I’ll post my results.

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Disclaimer:

I am not a blawger.  I’ve never written a blog (or blawg) in my life. 

I’ve also never been able to keep a diary because, usually, the things that happen to me aren’t that out of the ordinary and I don’t see the point of writing about things that seem boring to me now so that I can read about them in the future.  For example, fast forward 50 years, I’m sitting in a rocking chair reading this:

Dear Diary,

Today I slept in until 1:30.  I felt like such a waste of space for sleeping in late that I tried to prep for law school classes by reading one of the HOW-TO-SUCCEED-IN-LAW-SCHOOL-AND-BE-IN-THE-TOP-10%-IN-YOUR-CLASS-WITHOUT-RELINQUISHING-YOUR SANITY-OR-MAKING-MORTAL-ENEMIES books my mom bought me.  I got bored, gave up and decided to watch the episode of Jersey Shore I missed last week instead.  I also decided it was a good idea to drink some rum and coke while watching the show to get in the mood. I’m drunk right now.  

Write you tomorrow.

Love,

Lawless.

The reason I want to write this blawg is not because I want to remember every little thing that happens to me during law school (although I guess I’ll be able to read about my experiences 50 years from now, an added bonus I suppose), but because I want to connect with other students and alumni who are having and have had similar experiences. 

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