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)
Lawlapalooza 2010 t-shirts and tickets will be on sale in the Mosaic Lobby ...
- Thursday, September 16 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm,
- Tuesday, September 21 from 5:15 to 7:15 pm, and
- Wednesday, September 22 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.
T-shirts are $10. Student tickets are $5, and general admission tickets are $20.
Bonus: Every student who wears his/her Lawlapalaooza 2010 t-shirt to the show, Thursday, September 30 at the Phoenix Hill Tavern, gets his/her first drink FREE, compliments of Westlaw.
Enjoy the Lawlapalooza 2010 Commercial:
The ABA Client Counseling Competition simulates a law office consultation in which you, acting as a team of two attorneys, are presented with a typical client matter. The competition will be held either February 12, 2011 or February 19, 2011. This year’s topic is Professional Responsibility.
Tryouts will be held Friday, September 24 starting at 2:30pm in Washer Lounge. You must sign up as a two member team. Due to the topic for this year’s competition, it is strongly recommended that each member of a team has either taken or is currently enrolled in Professional Responsibility.
The sign up sheet is posted on the Moot Court Office Door. There is also a folder containing a statement to prepare your team for the tryout.
If you have any questions about this competition or the tryouts please contact Professor Abramson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lani Burt at email@example.com.
Attention 2L's, 3L's and 4L's
Informational Meetings Wednesday, September 15th and Thursday, September 23 in Room 175 at 12:10
The annual Pirtle-Washer Oral Advocacy Competition is a great opportunity for law students to hone their oral advocacy skills. This competition is open to all 2L, 3L, and 4L University of Louisville Law Students. The competition focuses on a competitor's ability as an oral advocate and therefore requires no research outside of the given materials. The preliminary rounds will be held on Saturday, October 16th and the Finals will be on Friday, October 22nd. If interested please sign up on the Moot Court Board door and attend an informational meeting in room 175 at 12:10 pm on 9/15 or 9/23.