It is amazing that we are beginning the sixth week of the semester! Some of your professors may have started to speed up in class and cover more pages. You may be working on your first graded writing assignment for BLS, preparing for a practice exam, studying for a mid-term, or all of the above. What can you do to re-group after these first five weeks if you are feeling pressured by the workload or are worrying that you are already behind in your studying? This week's tips will provide suggestions on how to handle pressure.
- Do not stop reading for classes because you have other projects or assignments due soon. Carve out time for the projects around your reading for classes. If you focus on papers or projects and ignore class reading, you will then be confused in class and behind in your reading. If you are having trouble finding time for both reading and other tasks, make an appointment with the Director of Academic Success for help with time management.
When you supplement your course outlines this weekend, consider what graphics may work for you to help with the bigger picture, the analysis, and the synthesis of the material; some examples of graphics are:
- Tables with material in rows and columns
- Decision trees – flow charts with questions and yes/no choices to work through the analysis
- Tree diagrams – the main concept is the trunk and the sub-topics (and beyond) branch off
- Legal diagrams – the main concept starts in the center of the page and lines connect outwards to the sub-topics and beyond
- Balloon diagrams – similar to the legal diagram using balloons to hold concepts and sub-topics instead of lines alone
- Mind mapping – use pictures and shapes to brainstorm about the interconnections
- Venn diagrams to show the overlap between several concepts
- Time lines for chronological events
- Columns of material to show connections and progression
The United States Constitution is not only the basic law of the United States. It has also inspired politicians, philosophers, and ordinary people around the world. Scholars have devoted intense attention to the Constitution, its interpretation by the Supreme Court of the United States, and its impact on the American people.
Constitutional law forms an important part of the Law School's curriculum and research agenda. University of Louisville faculty members have devoted considerable attention to the Constitution, its interpretation, and its social meaning. Lawyers with diverse practices and specializations share a background in constitutional law, which in turn unites the practicing bar in a common civil culture based on the Constitution and its role in American history and politics.
The Law School therefore takes great pride in presenting an annual commemoration of Constitution Day on behalf of the entire University of Louisville. This year's program consists of a collection of videos that provide commentary on recent developments in the Supreme Court of the United States and in lower federal courts. Jim Chen, Samuel Marcosson, Luke Milligan, Laura Rothstein and Joseph Tomain review a significant year of developments in American constitutional law.
- Luke M. Milligan, Introduction
- Jim Chen, McDonald v. City of Chicago: The States and the 2nd Amendment
- Samuel A. Marcosson, The California Same-Sex Marriage Case
- Luke M. Milligan, City of Ontario v. Quon
- Laura Rothstein, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez
- Joseph A. Tomain, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
- Archived Constitution Day programs at UofL Law
- The McConnell Center's celebration of Constitution Day 2010
- An original copy of the Constitution
- U.S.Government Printing Office: Annotated Constitution of the United States
- The Constitution in a single-page HTML format
- Library of Congress American Memory: Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789
- National Constitution Center: Constitutional Timeline
- Bill of Rights Institute: Bill of Rights in the News
- Constitutional law photo gallery
- Constitutional Curiosities: A 21-Question Scavenger Hunt
- Constitutional Law Haiku
Legal notice: This page is composed in compliance with section 111 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, Pub. L. No. 108-447, § 111, 118 Stat. 2809, 3344-45 (2004), more colloquially known as the "Constitution Day" statute. See also Notice of Implementation of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day on September 17 of Each Year, 70 Fed. Reg. 29,727 (May 24, 2005).
Section 111 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act states in relevant part: "Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution." Section 111 further requires that Constitution Day be commemorated on September 17, in honor of the day in 1787 on which the Constitution was signed. In a year in which September 17 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, Constitution Day may be commemorated during the preceding or following week.
The Kentucky Intrastate Mock Trial Competition is an annual event between Chase Law School, UK College of Law, and Brandeis School of Law. Each school hosts the competition every third year, and this year it's our turn. With winning comes bragging rights for the next year, but participation provides so much more. Mock Trial involves preparing openings, closings, directs, crosses - in other words, it's an actual trial (not like the 1L oral arguments). This is one of the few opportunities you will have as a student to really practice and integrate the skills necessary to conduct a trial. Not only will your participation in this competition give you an edge over your competition in today*s competitive job market, you will receive academic credit AND you will learn the Rules of Evidence backwards and forwards. We invite all 2Ls and 3Ls interested in building vital skills to participate.
1) Dates for the competition: Nov. 13th & 14th (the weekend after the MPRE);
2) Students must either be enrolled in or have already taken evidence;
3) Tryouts will be during the day, from 12-2 PM on September 10, 15 and 17 and also from 9-11 AM on September 16. Sign-up lists are posted on the MCB door.
4) Email Heend Sheth a resume with "Mock Trial" in the subject line and prepare a three to six minute opening statement based on the attached Mock Trial problem to deliver at your tryout. The try out problem is long (44 pages); PLEASE don't create an in depth opening. Just read the statement of facts (1 page) and 1 or 2 witness depositions (a few pages each) and create a "light" opening.
5) Practices will take place twice a week (one during the day on a weekday and another on the weekend) at the law school.
Do you have a writing assignment to complete but can't seem to find the focus to get the project started? Consider these tips for more focused writing:
- Make sure you understand the parameters of the assignment before you begin – ask the professor if you are unsure
- Brief cases that you will use; make notes on general reference volumes that you have found; consider how you will use each source for the paper or project
- Outline your thoughts and the supporting materials before you start writing so that you will be more focused and clear
- Divide the paper or project into smaller sections and focus on one piece at a time while you write
- Review what you wrote previously for a section before you continue writing that section at a later time
- Review other sections that inter-relate before you start to write a new section
- Keep a pad handy to write down reminders about thoughts you have on other sections (or other tasks entirely) so that you can re-focus quickly on your task at hand
- Edit in stages rather than looking for everything at once: grammar and punctuation; depth of analysis; logic; clarity; writing style
To improve your understanding and recall of the cases you read, consider these tips:
- Read your cases at the times of day when you are most alert and productive and save “lighter” study tasks for other times
- Read the subject that is most difficult (or that you find least interesting) first each day so that you are your most alert and finish it early in the day
- Create a context for reading the case through a quick survey before you read: what is the topic; what is the sub-topic; what court are you in (federal or state; level of appeal); what are the party categories (buyer and seller of land; buyer and seller of widgets); what is in dispute; what is the holding (now you know the issue and its answer); what questions has the casebook editor included at the end
- Divide what you are reading into small “chunks” – paragraphs on facts; paragraphs on procedural history; paragraphs on precedent; paragraphs about policy
- Ask yourself questions about the chunk as you read to keep yourself interested and to draw out the most important points
- Write margin notes to distill the chunk to the most important points
- Re-read only the chunk you are on if you lose focus
- Prepare a brief after you read the entire case to see if you understand the case AND the bigger picture of this case in relationship to other cases and the topic
Tracey Roberts, assistant professor at the Brandeis School of Law, is new to Louisville and to the University of Louisville.
She's started a group called Louisville Faculty and Friends to help newcomers connect with other people in the community. UofL Today recently asked her about the group and herself.
UofL Today: Last year, you were a research affiliate with Vanderbilt University's Climate Change Research Network and held a fellowship with the Searle-Kauffman Institute for Law, Innovation and Growth. Before that, you practiced law in Georgia and Colorado. What brought you to Louisville?
Roberts: I have always wanted to teach law. At the University of Louisville, I feel that I am in a position to make an important contribution through my research and teaching to both academia and (hopefully) generations of students, attorneys and policy-makers. It is particularly gratifying to be doing this work back in my home state. I am originally from Franklin, Ky., a small town along the southern border, south of Bowling Green. I was also a member of the Kentucky Bar for nine years, though I practiced law elsewhere.
UofL Today: What is Louisville Faculty & Friends?
Roberts: Louisville Faculty & Friends is a social group designed to integrate faculty into the broader Louisville community, provide informational resources to newcomers, encourage cross-disciplinary and public-private collaboration, and generally have fun in Louisville and surrounds.
UofL Today: How can people get involved?
Roberts: Everyone should feel free to join our Louisville Faculty & Friends Google group.
Full Story: "20 Minutes with Tracey Roberts on faculty newcomer group" (UofL Today, September 14, 2010)
Do you ever feel that you have put in time but do not understand or recall anything that you heard in class or read in your casebook? Do you ever “zone out” during class or study time? One of the most essential study skills is the ability to focus. Here are some general tips that you might want to consider:
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night so that your brain cells can be ready to work productively for you
- Take short 5- or 10-minute breaks every 90 minutes of studying
- Take a 30-minute break after you have been studying for 3 or 4 hours
- Take a short 5-minute break if you completely lose your focus and cannot get it back with more active study strategies: asking questions; reciting out loud; talking with someone else about the material
- Find a setting where you can study without interruptions or distractions
- Have all of your supplies and study materials gathered and ready for use before you sit down to study
- Eat a light snack before studying to assuage hunger pangs: an apple; a box of raisins; a handful of nuts; a granola bar
- Use ice water to keep you alert instead of coffee or sodas