Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Orientation Express has left the station....

Well, I have oriented all my students, and now I can sit back and bask in the pleasure of knowing that they are all perfectly prepared for whatever will come in the next few weeks.  Right?  Well, maybe not, but I certainly tried.  I did my usual spiel:  you know, "we call them briefs because they are supposed to be short and private." (In case you wanted to incorporate this joke into your orientation lecture, you should know that the students did not laugh as loudly as I did, but feel free to give it a try.)

I think that I have finally, after many years of doing ASP orientation, come up with a "theme" for my talk.  My theme this year (and perhaps for many years to come) is the triumvirate of learning.  Not a group of three classes, but rather the three stages of getting the most from your classes.  The first stage (before class) is preparation:  reading and briefing all the assigned cases.  The second stage is coming to class, religiously, and taking comprehensive notes.  I do warn students to avoid what I call, "court reporter syndrome" and not take notes as if they were merely recording the class without pausing to let the material sink in.  And finally: (I wish I could put some musical emphasis here, but in your mind I want you to think aah-ah with golden light and all that) outlining (very soon) after class to bring the first two components together.

That's it.  I know I haven't broken down law school into three simple and easy steps, but I tried to make sure my students understand what was expected of them.  In law school, I often felt that I had not only missed the boat, but also that I didn't know there was a boat, when it might be sailing or that I was supposed to be on it.  Often, I could have done what was expected of me if I had only known what that was. Granted, sometimes I wasn't as diligent about finding out the boat schedule as I should have been, but a little guidance would have helped.  Therefore, since the LSAT does not measure psychic ability, I attempted to give my students this information before the pier sits empty again.

Oh, and one last case briefing joke (that I enjoy more than the students, of course) is:  for the first couple of weeks, your briefs may actually be longer than the case itself; those are called boxers.  Bah-dum-bum. (ezs)

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