Saturday, January 20, 2007

When Law School Gives You a Lemon, Find Some Vodka and have a Party

I'd like to think that I have an idea of how to survive law school. Two and a half years of going to class and being physically present in a law school must mean something, right? So according to current media standards, I am now qualified to give expert advice [Let's call this the Lou Dobbs Policy].

A comment was left asking how to succeed in an untenable shitty class situation. I will now attempt to give the best advice that I can. Simply put the question is 'How to survive first year Property class?'

LG writes:

My Property professor was supposedly the country's most prolific legal writer (in the middle ages or something). Then he was a professor for a long time, then dean of my law school, then he retired. Then he came back to teach. In class so far all he has talked about is his son the veterinarian. The guy is 40 years past senile but he looks good on paper so they're never going to kick him out. I don't care about Property, in fact I'm pretty sure I'm going to hate Property because it's 4 credits, they take attendance and it's 3 p.m. on a Friday.
Issue One: Boring-Ass Subject
We all were there. Property sucks. Easements. Fee simple absoluts. Blackacre. It's gonna be a blast. For me, I hated property. It was boring and I had no desire to be a transactional attorney dealing with constructive partial eviction. The key here is that, while it is boring, if you get access to a few past outlines and buy an Emmanuel's, you're set. Property, while complex, is not that hard. My exam was the closest thing I've ever had to one of those LSAT logic games. It wasn't hard, it just took time. And the curve comes in when your classmates just get overwhelmed and freak out. So, as will be reiterated in the following sections, have fun with property. No other subject allows for so many junior-high sexual innuendos than property [yep, I'm mature].

Issue Two: Senility
The good news is that your professor has been around since the middle ages [think of a politician's paper trail]. The bad news is that despite him looking very good [maybe even smart] on paper is that he stands in front of you 'teaching.'

My first year I had a Boalt Hall Educated, Professor Emeritus from another law school, who talked like Triumph, the insult comic dog, that was dragged out of retirement teaching my Contracts class. Oh yeah, he was teaching from a casebook that focused on Wisconsin law. This was a problem, I didn't respect him. I thought he was a doofus. He was a doofus. [A cell phone rang in the middle of class and he starts asking: 'Did someone bring a cat to class? Who brings a cat to class?']

The moral of the story here is that it is tough, at least it was for me, to learn and study for a man that I didn't respect. None of this matters when you sit for the exam though. Despite his mental vacation, he will still have an exam that will try to fornicate with you in the back of a Volkswagen. You might not have to pay attention to this guy, but you will have to be prepared when it comes to the exam. My advice here is to teach yourself the material. He's been around for ages, find his past exams and have an idea with what you will be assaulted with. I wish I had done this myself, because the professor I had for Contracts used a test that was dated 1992. [I shit you not]. In class, use his senility for entertainment purposes. Create a drinking game [and PLAY the drinking game in class]. Have a Chinese fire-drill. Bring a cat to class. Be creative and pass the time with Sergeant Geriatric with ease.

Issues Three and Four: Attendance Policy on a Friday Class
Well, this sucks. I suggest that you use ALL of your excused absences. Discover the system he uses for attendance. Beat the system. There has to be a way. As I touched on before, just because you have to be there, does not mean that you have to be sober, attentive, or caring. Multi-task while in the class. Use it to your advantage. The Friday class is probably the worst of all possibilities, however, it is late in the afternoon. I had a 9:30am class on Friday Mornings and this meant that my weekend didn't begin until class was over. Your weekend though begins the night before. You can stay out until 6am, get home, sleep until 3, and then go to class without batting an eye at it. Live it up. Just because it happens on a Friday, does not mean that you have to care. The plain and simple truth [which I wish I would have followed a little more closely myself first year]: Don't ever let law school interfere with your social life.

LG, I wish you the best of luck.

And I expect photos if you have that Chinese Fire Drill.