This week is the eighth week of classes. Stress is on the rise. Some students are choosing negative coping strategies. Instead, use positive coping strategies like the ones below for your stressors:
Stressor: You are behind in reading for one or more courses.
- Focus first on current reading assignments so that you are not lost in class.
- Fit in back reading a few pages or one case at a time until you are caught up again.
- Avoid becoming dependent on commercial case briefs instead of reading yourself.
Stressor: You have read everything but are feeling clueless in the course.
- Determine what you need to do to gain understanding of the material.
- Some students need to get an overview first before they learn the parts: look at a table of contents, look at the syllabus organization, look at a graphic representation of the topic, read about the topic to get a preview.
- Some students need to learn the separate parts before they can understand the overview: after each series of cases, focus on the synthesis into the sub-topic; after several sub-topics, focus on the synthesis into the topic; after several topics, focus on the synthesis into the overall course.
- Consider whether working with a classmate would help you.
- Consider whether going to the professor with questions would help you.
- Consider whether reading a carefully chosen supplement would help you.
- If you are a 1L, consider whether going to your Academic Fellow during office hours would help you.
- Consider doing all of the above if that is what it takes to sort out the course.
Stressor: You are behind in outlines for your courses.
- Focus on outlines in the order of easiest to complete (less material covered, more understandable, already have part of it completed) through hardest to complete.
- Get started. Waiting until you understand it all or until you have the non-existent free weekend will not help matters.
- Once an outline is caught up, add to it every week. (The material will still be fresh and will take less time to outline.)
Stressor: You have several deadlines that are very close together.
- Break down each exam course into the smaller sub-topics that you must study.
- Break down each paper or project into the smaller tasks for completion.
- Estimate how long it will take you to complete each small sub-topic or task.
Total the full amount of time you will need for each exam or paper or project. Add 20% to your estimates.
- Take a calendar and allot tasks to each day so that you finish all tasks before the deadline.
This past weekend (February 18-20), the Law School hosted the Region 7 National Trial Competition at the Jefferson County Judicial Center. Fifteen law schools and thirty teams from Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan participated. Seventy-one law school students competed. The following four law students represented the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law: Paul Chumbley, Brandon Edwards, Courtney Phelps, and Aaron Price.
Thirty-seven Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas served as volunteer judges, including Rodney Acker, the chair of the ACTL's National Trial Competition Committee. The Commonwealth was represented with Fellows from Paducah, Bowling Green, Henderson, Owensboro, Somerset, Lexington, and Louisville. Judges from Kentucky state and federal courts also participated.
All four UofL law students competed in three preliminary rounds and presented both the prosecution and defense sides of a criminal case. Both teams received excellent feedback from the judges. After Rounds 1 and 2, team members Courtney Phelps and Aaron Price were the number one ranked trial team, having won both preliminary rounds and every judge’s ballot, and having the highest point differential. During Round 3, Courtney and Aaron were power matched against the second ranked trial team from the University of Akron School of Law. Courtney and Aaron defeated Akron 3-0 to advance to the semifinals. Of the eight trial teams that advanced, Courtney and Aaron were again ranked number one based on wins, ballots, and point differential.
In the semifinal round, Courtney and Aaron defeated Chase Law School and earned a spot in the finals. The competition was exceptionally close in the final round on Sunday afternoon. Courtney and Aaron competed against the University of Kentucky and lost by a narrow margin: 96 to 95; 91 to 90; and 94to 93. Every judge on the panel commented that as the runner-up team, Courtney and Aaron would have been worthy champions as well. Congratulations should be extended to Courtney and Aaron for their hard work and extraordinary trial advocacy.
Congratulations must also be extended to the 286 volunteers (law students, faculty, staff, court administrators, sheriffs, lawyers, and judges) who made this competition a great success. Many coaches and judges commented that the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law hosted the best organized regional competition that they can remember. One of the Fellows wrote: “From the standpoint of the judges, there was not a single hitch in the proceedings. Everything happened as it was supposed to, when it wassupposed to. We didn't want for as much as a bottle of water. . . . You have set a new standard for efficiency and hospitality. Congratulations.”
The NTC Committee responsible for planning the competition was composed of the following students and administrators: Kimberly Ballard, Brian Bennett, Roz Cordini, Todd Garland, Phil Lawson, Marilyn Osborn, and Becky Wenning. Brian Bennett had the difficult task of securing volunteers to fill 204 witness positions over the course of the three-day tournament. Roz Cordini worked to secure donated items for competitors and judges (including engraved Louisville Slugger bats and Maker’s Mark bourbon bottles), and to manage volunteer greeters and floor attendants each day of the competition. Todd Garland was in charge of scoring, and tabulated scores for over 300 judge’s ballots during the course of the weekend. Phil Lawson served as the judge liaison and assisted the 72 attorneys and judges who volunteered during the competition weekend. Marilyn Osborn was responsible for securing volunteers for 51 bailiff positions and for overseeing law students on the NTC Committee. Becky Wenning coordinated all of the catering and logistics at the Judicial Center, planned the competitor’s reception at the Marriott Hotel, and was the primary liaison with the staff at the Judicial Center, including the Chief Court Administrator. Without their support, this competition would not have been a success.
In addition to the Committee’s support, thanks are extended to the following law students who volunteered their time to serve as witnesses and bailiffs, and to work behind the scenes: Bryan Abell, Jennifer Adams-Emerson, David Ames, Chris Arnold, Waleed Bahouth, Carly Baize, Ben Basil, Jeff Benedict, Matt Birkhoffer, Lani Burt, Daniel Cameron, Michael Cannon, Stephanie Carr, Candise Caylao, Nathan Chittick, Sarah Clay, Megan Cleveland, Jackie Clowers, Sam Constantine, Nicole Crump, Steven Crumbly, Steve Damron, Brittany Deskins, Joe Dunman, Aaron Dyke, Whitney Englert, Jen Ewa, Andrea Fagan, Cynthia Federico, Liam Felsen, Ryan Fenwick, Elisabeth Fitzpatrick, Tyler Fleck, Jacob Ford, Nathan Fort, Brad Hall, Denise Hall, Paige Hamby, Brittany Hampton, Josh Hartsell, Holly Hudelson, Jamie Jackson, Lu Jessee, Brad Johnson, Brandon Johnson, Eric Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson, Megan Keane, Cassie Kennedy, Clay Kennedy, Teresa Kenyon, Nick Laughlin, Pete Lay, Amelia Leonard, Jennie Lynch, Alice Lyon, Luke Markushewski, Courtney McGrew, Jennifer Monarch, Luschka Montijo, Iara Montoro, Ross Neuhauser, Blake Nolan, Victoria O’Grady, Patrick Owens, Sarah Potter, Kaitlyn Potzick, Amanda Prager, Marlow Riedling, Whitney Roth, Dorrie Rush, Jared Sawyer, Will Seidelman, Jen Siewertsen, Julie Simonson, Leah Smith, Thomas Stevens, Tommy Sturgeon, Terrance Sullivan, Barney Sutley, Andrew Swafford, Willis Taylor, Whitney True, Alex White, Jared Wilkie, Kyle Winham, Amanda Warford, and Kristie Wetterer.
Thanks are also extended to the following law faculty and staff for participating as witnesses: Tony Arnold, Linda Barris, Jessica Campbell, Debra Reh, Kathy Urbach, and Becky Wimberg.
Other local groups that were involved to serve as witnesses include students fromthe Youth Performing Arts School at Manual High School, Pre-Law Students at Bellarmine University, University of Louisville undergraduate students, and Brandeis School of Law admitted students.
Thank you to all who participated, and congratulations to Courtney Phelps, Paul Chumbley, Brandon Edwards and Aaron Price for representing the Law School so well in this competition.
I have received several student inquiries about why we don't have classes scheduled 12:15 to 2:15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and why some core and required classes are scheduled at the same time.
The open time slots on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:15 to 2:15 are there for student organization meetings, mandatory professionalism and bar-admission programs, make-up classes, informational sessions (e.g., 1L registration/advising, moot court, journals, dual degree programs), Partners in Professionalism programming, career services programs, Diversity Forums, guest speakers, major events, faculty meetings, and the like. If these times weren't set aside without classes, it would be impossible to have all of these important and/or necessary programs without conflicting with students' and professors' obligations to be in class. Already we are finding it difficulty to schedule major events that don't conflict with one another, even with 2 open slots. And if we were to try to schedule a set of 1:00 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday classes, the period of 12:15 to 11:50 is too short. Most law schools have open no-class time periods in their schedules for the same reasons.
Likewise, it is impossible to devise a schedule in which some required or core course sections aren't at the same time as others. However, there are multiple sections of nearly all required or core courses. Over the entire 2011-12 year, there are 4 sections of Basic Income Tax, 3 sections of Business Organizations, 3 sections of Decedents Estates, 3 sections of Evidence, 3 sections of Crim Pro I, 2 sections of Con Law I (and also 2 sections of Con Law II), 2 sections of Professional Responsibility, 2 sections of Secured Transactions, 2 sections of Crim Pro II, 2 sections of Conflict of Law, 2 sections of Estate & Gift Tax, 2 sections of Negotiable Instruments, and 1 section of Adminstrative Law. While the precise numbers of sections offered may not be exactly the same from year to year, you should have a number of different options to take required and core courses over a 2-year period in your 2L and 3L years. Likewise, there are a lot of different skills, perspective, and writing courses in the schedule, allowing flexibility in how you choose to meet those graduation requirements.
While most of you already know that selecting the courses you will take necessarily involves choices and trade-offs among multiple goals, the point bears repeating as you consider next year's schedule. No law student in the U.S. is able to put together his or her "dream schedule"; everyone must make scheduling choices, because no schedule can be devised that meets all of the individual goals of a large, diverse set of students. If you would like to talk over your options with me, Dean Bean, or Ms. Ballard, please make an appointment. We would be glad to help you to think through your schedule options.
Time is a precious commodity in law school. Law students are always looking for shortcuts, but shortcuts are not the answer. Instead, you want to use your time more efficiently and effectively. Here are some suggestions:
- Learn the material as you read it rather than highlight it to learn later. Ask questions while you read. Make margin notes as you read. Brief the case or make additional notes to emphasize the main points and big picture of the topic after you finish reading. If you only do cursory "survival" reading, you will have to re-read for learning later which means double work.
- Review what you have read before class. By reviewing, you reinforce your learning. You will be able to follow in class better. You will recognize what is important for note taking rather than taking down everything the professor says. You will be able to respond to questions more easily. Your confidence level about the material will increase.
- Be more efficient and effective in taking class notes. Listen carefully in class. Take down the main points rather than frantically writing or typing verbatim notes. Use consistent symbols and abbreviations in your notes.
- Review your class notes within 24 hours. Fill in gaps. Organize the notes if needed. Note any questions that you have. If you wait to review your notes until you are outlining, you will have less recall of the material.
- Regularly review material. We forget 80% of what we learn in 2 weeks if we do not review. Regular review of your outlines will mean less cramming at the end of the semester. You save time ultimately by not re-learning. You gain deeper understanding. You have less stress at exam time.
- Look for the big picture at the end of each sub-topic and topic. Do not wait until pre-exam studying to pull the course together. Synthesize the cases that you have read on a sub-topic: how are they different and similar. Determine the main points that you need to cull from cases for the sub-topic or topic. Analyze how the sub-topics or topics are inter-related. If visuals help you learn, incorporate a flowchart or table or other graphic into your outline to show the steps of analysis and/or inter-relationships.
- Ask the professors questions as soon as you can. Do not store up questions. The sooner you get your questions answered, the greater your comprehension of current material. New topics often build on understanding of prior topics. Unanswered questions merely lead to more confusion and less learning.
There are only a limited number of spots available on the team roster. The team will play in the weekly Attorneys League at Turners located on River Road Monday evenings. Game times vary from 6:30pm to 9:30pm depending on the number of teams registered. The league will begin play a week or two after Derby week.
Contact Steven Valdez at the Louisville Bar Association at 502.569.1357.
Next weekend (Feb 18 - Feb 20), the Law School will be hosting the Region 7 National Trial Competition at the Jefferson County Judicial Center. Fifteen law schools and thirty teams from Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, will be participating.
So far, law students have volunteered for over 150 positions throughout the competition weekend, including serving as bailiffs and witnesses, assisting with scoring, and checking-in witnesses, competitors, and judges, etc. On behalf of the Moot Court Board, thank you!
We still need your help, though! We need 8 more witnesses for Round 1 (Friday afternoon), 15 more witnesses for Round 2 (Saturday morning), and 15 more witnesses for Round 3 (Saturday afternoon). If you can volunteer to play a witness during one or more of these rounds, please email Brian Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Bennett will provide the information you need and will answer any questions that you may have. This will also count toward your public service requirement.