Legally Ranting

Some Random Thoughts About Law School

Posted in Law School by legalrants on June 8, 2010

I had my first law school exam today — Property I.

Personally, I think that law exams should be incorporated into the Olympics as a marathon. 15mins into the paper, my wrist and elbow turned so numb that I could barely write anymore. Obviously, if you are gonna participate in a marathon, it would be prudent to at least TRAIN for one! All the years of typing on the keyboard — blogs, emails, Facebook! — has left me physically inept in the art of penmanship.

Judging from the way the exam begun for me today, I should have known I was in for a tough time. One of the things I learnt in law school is NEVER MAKE ANY ASSUMPTIONS — this applies not just to applying the law or whatever that is related to law — it also includes NOT ASSUMING that you are taking the exam IN THE SAME ROOM AS YOUR FRIEND!

But for the graces of a kind examiner, who let me sit into her supervised hall to take the exam, I would still be scouring the campus now looking for the correct hall to take the paper. Amazing ain’t it? 4 years of undergrad school should have taught me to be wiser…. Hey wait a minute, all my undergrad papers were taken in a giagantic hall that accomodated everyone taking the same paper. Why should it be any different for law school?

Like I said, my first maxim in law school is — NEVER assume anything. Always check, then later, verify it. Then confirm what you’ve verified. I guess it would be prudent to CHECK one last time….. then confirm again.

You think I’m paranoid? You haven’t seen the worst of me.

To be honest, I stand corrected about a law school exam being a marathon event. On hindsight, it felt more like I was playing a pro chess tournament WHILE running a marathon — not only do you have to write EXTREMELY FAST (not to mention legibly), you have to be thinking about what you are currently writing, while planning the next point, while contemplating whether the last point you have written has contradicted any of your current points.  Isn’t that what you do in chess (not that I’m an avid chess player), always planning your next 10 moves and wondering if you made a mistake in your previous 20 moves?

And I was planning on finishing the paper with time to spare so that I could go back and “beautify” some of the answers …..prior equitable interest v subsequent legal interest, mortgages, Deed of Conveyances, determinable life estates, fixtures, adverse possession… it’s all becoming a blur to me now.

Thank goodness Property 1 is over…..well, Contracts 1, Criminal Law 1 and Torts 1 still await…

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  1. Micah McMillan said, on June 8, 2010 at 9:54 am

    You asked (on my blog at http://micahmcmillan.wordpress.com/2008/10/12/how-to-do-well-in-law-school/) for a post on exams; I think you’ve done a good job here, but I will offer some tips: Law school exams ARE like a marathon, and “training” (preparing during the semester) is just as important. Build a good outline by taking good notes during the semester (read for class and take notes on both those readings and lecture). You should also do just what you said, and make sure you know where to go for the day of the exam, and get there early to get a seat and arrange your test-taking materials. I recommend taking a few minutes to skim through each question, taking notes on the exam or scratch paper on any issues you see as you go. Divide your time carefully if you have several questions to answer, and make sure you carefully read and answer each question (I once nearly failed an exam by answering a question that was not asked!).

    Good luck on your next exams!

    • legalrants said, on June 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm

      Hey Micah, thanks for the tips!! I tried diligently to build a comprehensive outline during the semester but I guess I was lazy in sometimes and simply ‘cut and pasted’ online case summaries to my notes without really taking time to understand the principles. That is something I need to bear in mind for the future.

      Anyhow, all the best for your (not-so) new career after law school!


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