We are already 8 weeks into the spring semester! Deadlines may be starting to pile up. Your beginning-of-the-semester optimism may have worn off. And, the weather bouncing between winter and spring does not help. Consider the following tips to obtain optimal learning:
- Keep a positive attitude to affect your learning positively. It is hard to keep your focus and perform at your best if a cloud is hovering over your head. Negative thoughts, grumpiness, and sniping at others all expend energy in unproductive avenues. Not only do other people want to avoid you when you exude negativity, but you waste your own time by moaning, groaning, and whining.
- Focus on manageable tasks to increase motivation. It is easier to get motivated to do small tasks rather than large projects. Decide to read one case when you do not feel like reading any of your Property cases. Decide to write two paragraphs when you do not feel like writing an entire paper draft. Decide to outline one sub-topic when you do not want to outline an entire topic. Decide to do 5 multiple-choice questions when you do not feel like doing practice questions at all. After you get started and finish one small task, you are likely to be ready to do another small task.
- Focus on what you can control rather than what is controlled by others. Reality is that you do not determine whether you will be called on in class, whether you will have a mid-term exam, whether your paper will have one or six draft deadlines, or whether you will have a multiple-choice or essay final exam. So, stop stewing about things you cannot control. Instead, focus on what you can control and take control of those things: your time management; your stress management; your timetable for review; your outlining schedule; your reading schedule; your schedule for practice questions; your asking the professor questions and more.
- Use the many services that are available to you to improve your situation. Ask questions during the professor’s office hours. If you are a 1L, talk to your Academic Fellow. Meet with the writing center to improve your grammar and punctuation skills. Make an appointment with Ms. Ballard for study strategies and tips. Meet with a University counselor if you have test anxiety, personal problems or other issues that are making it hard for you to concentrate on your studies. Go to the doctor if you are sick rather than self-treating and not getting better. Getting assistance keeps you from feeling so alone in your situation and begins the work of solving problems.
- Do not focus on your bad choices last semester, last week, or yesterday. If you have procrastinated or studied inefficiently and ineffectively or fallen into any of the other common student difficulties in studying, accept responsibility for those bad choices; but then, focus on today. You cannot change what has already happened, but you can change how you study today and tomorrow.
- Take advantage of your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses. Evaluate the areas within a course: what areas do you understand and what areas are you confused about still. Then, spend additional time on the weak areas to improve your understanding while you review material that you know well.
- Do not blame someone else for your difficulties. It is not the professor's fault that you cannot do the practice problems if you did not study the material thoroughly. It is not the professor’s fault that you got a low grade when other students did better on the same exam. It is not your study group’s fault that you do not understand the material if you have not taken the initiative to attempt learning it yourself before study group. It is not your spouse’s problem that you are behind in your reading if you have not set up a structured study schedule that allows sufficient study time as well as family time.
- Stop resisting positive change. Ask yourself whether you are having problems because you are clinging to ineffective and inefficient ways of studying. You need to realize that nothing will change for the better if you refuse to make changes. Knowing that you need to change something and still not changing it will accomplish nothing positive in your life.
- Remember that you begin to earn your reputation as an attorney while you are in law school. Ask yourself whether how you are acting today will place you in a positive light with your classmates and professors. If not, then reconsider the behavior BEFORE you act that way again. Being difficult to work with on an assignment may translate into a reputation that you will be considered difficult to work with as an attorney later. Being lazy in law school may translate into a lack of referrals as an attorney because your former classmates will not be able to trust you to do a thorough job. Being mean-spirited or gossipy or arrogant in law school may translate into personal characteristics that mar your reputation later as a new attorney.
The Moot Court Board wishes to congratulate Duffy Trager, Rachel Carmona, and Maria Mourad for winning the NYU Law School Immigration Law Moot Court Competition last weekend. The team was coached by Professor Enid Trucios-Haynes. The victory is the school's first in the competition, though UofL finished second two years ago.
The team defeated competitors from Stetson, Howard, California-Davis, and Harvard in the preliminary rounds before defeating Maryland in the semi-finals and Georgetown in the championship round. The finals judges were Edith Brown Clement of the 5th Circuit, Maryanne Trump Barry of the 3d Circuit, and William Fletcher of the 9th Circuit.
Dual degrees approved for Brandeis law students are: Master of Business Administration/Juris Doctor; Juris Doctor/Master of Divinity; Master of Science in Social Work/Juris Doctor; Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Humanities; Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Political Science; Juris Doctor/Master of Urban Planning; and Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Bioethics and Medical Humanities. (More information is in the Law School Student Handbook.)
Several Brandeis students pursuing dual degrees have agreed to host an information session on Thursday, February 25, at noon, in Room 175. Dean Bean will also be on hand to answer questions. All interested students should plan to be there!
Street Law, Inc. is a national non-profit organization that provides practical, participatory education about law, democracy, and human rights. Street Law began in 1972, when a small group of Georgetown University Law Center students developed an experimental curriculum to teach high school students in Washington DC about the practical aspects of the law and the legal system. The program evolved and today a Street Law textbook and curriculum is used throughout the country.
On 9/11, Joe Gutmann, a prosecutor in Louisville, decided to make a difference in a new way. He left the prosecutor’s office to teach at Central High School in Louisville. In 2005, he was asked to serve as the coordinator of Central’s Law and Government Magnet program, and he began using the Street Law materials for the sophomore magnet students. In 2007, law students from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law began assisting in teaching the curriculum at Central under Joe Gutmann’s supervision. Building on the partnership begun in 2001 between Central and the Brandeis School of Law, law students were approved to receive public service credit for their Street Law work. Each year about 15 to 25 law students are involved in the program (in addition to many others who teach law magnet courses for juniors and seniors).
Each year, Street Law honors a teacher at its Annual Awards Dinner. Nominees must “educate students in an exceptional manner” and “use Street Law materials.” Joe Gutmann meets both criteria, and he is being recognized in Washington DC on April 28, 2010 as the Street Law Educator of the Year.
One of his nomination letters noted that
his dedication and commitment goes above and beyond to ensure that students are guided and that they learn. He gives them “tough love.” He makes sure they have the opportunity to attend special events. He works on giving them the tools to succeed. He is a tireless advocate for his students. The Central students who are in his class and the law students who teach in the Law Magnet think highly of Joe. The admiration and affection and respect … students have for Joe…doesn’t stop when they graduate. [R]eturning students …still come to him for help and advice (and to share good news about how college is going).
This award recognizes that exceptional teaching and commitment. Joe is always quick to acknowledge the various partnerships that make the Central High School’s Law and Government Magnet Program and his work successful. These include the partnership with the Brandeis School of Law, the long standing Summer Internship Program sponsored by the Louisville Bar Association, the University of Louisville University Community Signature Partnership support through UofL’s Office of Community Engagement (including the Seven Habits of Highly Successful Teens program), and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.
As a way to beat the winter doldrums, the faculty and staff at the law school hosted two Mardi Gras celebrations for out students. Serving lemonade, nachos, and king cake, the parties took place at 11:30 a.m. and at 5:00 p.m. on tuesday, February 16. Music from Professor Longhair played while faculty and staff served up fun and refreshments. Having found the baby in the king cake, Barbara Thompson was crowned the afternoon queen. Barbara was on hand that evening as well, when she and James Fischer led a parade for the second party.
Thanks to all who shared in the fun!
Surprise to see the party.
Students enjoy some nachos while the music plays.
Students settle in near the king cake.
While Dean Urbach leads a congo line.
Barbara Thompson: Our benevolentMardi Gras queen.
Students ejoyed the festivities.
Our Sports Law Moot Court Team, consisting of Jennifer Ward and Whitney True, competed this past week in New Orleans in the 16th Annual Mardi Gras Sports Law Moot Court competition hosted by Tulane School of Law. There were 40 teams in the competition and many fierce competitors. Although the team faced severe weather conditions and nearly missed the competition, the team conquered adversity and faired well in their efforts in the 2010 Sports Law Moot Court Competition.
The team was narrowly defeated by the UConn team in Round 1 and lost another coin toss to LSU in Round 2. Both rounds were very close. The team prevailed in Round 3 and defeated the team from Albany by a significant margin -- but despite their fairly large point differential from Round 3, the team was unable to advance.
Professor Moorman, the team's coach, was very pleased with the team's preparation and how well Jennifer and Whitney adjusted their arguments and oratory presentation as the competition progressed. Both Jennifer Ward and Whitney True received positive remarks for their oral arguments and advocacy. Most impressively, the team remained consistent despite nearly missing the competition all together. Congratulations to our 2010 Sports Law Moot Court Team!
Trager, Maria Mourad, and coach Professor Trucios-Haynes much success as they travel to New York City and represent the law school at the fifth annual Immigration Law Moot Court Competition. The competition will take place on Friday, February the 19th through Sunday, February the 21st at NYU School of Law. Good luck Team! ¡Buena suerte! Maikaʻi Pomaikaʻi! In bocca al lupo! Boa sorte! Bahati njema! Noroc! haeng un! gokoūn o inorimasu!
The American Constitution Society welcomes all papers furthering and promoting a progressive vision of the Constitution, law, and public policy. Entrants are encouraged to view this topic broadly, and we welcome submissions on a variety of substantive areas. Examples of possible topics include:
- access to the courts
- civil liberties
- consumer rights
- criminal justice
- disability rights
- freedom of speech
- GLBT rights
- human rights
- labor law
- voting and the political process
- protection of health, safety, and the environment
- racial equality
- separation of powers and federalism
- women's reproductive rights and reproductive freedom
The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 19, 2010.