Student News

KY Bar Exam Presentation - January 7

Reminder:  If you are a graduating law student and are planning to take the Kentucky Bar Exam in July 2010, do not miss the bar presentation on January 7, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., in Room 275.  (This presentation is during the first week of classes!)  Bonnie Kittinger, Director and General Counsel of the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions, will be available to answer your questions about the bar application, character and fitness reporting requirements, and the format of the bar exam.  If you plan to work on your bar application during the break, please stop by the Academic Success Office to pick up a handout describing the bar application process.  Be sure to write down any questions or issues you encounter and bring those to the January 7 bar presentation. 

Academic Success Tip - Exam Tip: Avoid Starting with a Conclusion

Avoid starting your analysis with a conclusion.  Instead, the first sentence of your discussion of each issue should identify the problem in need of resolution.  For example, you might begin your analysis of a torts problem by noting that “John may have battered Fred when he threw a stick over the fence that struck the plaintiff.”  In contrast, avoid writing “John battered Fred when he threw the stick over the fence.”  While beginning with a conclusion may be acceptable when writing a memorandum, keep in mind that these conclusions are usually based on a great deal of thoughtful reflection.  When writing an examination answer, time is of the essence and you may be incorrect regarding your initial belief as to how the problem will come out.  Beginning each problem with an issue statement, as opposed to a conclusion, addresses two related problems.  First, it provides you with the flexibility to look at all sides of a problem before coming up with an answer.  Second, it helps you to remain objective.  When you start with a conclusion, the tendency is to support that conclusion even in the face of strong opposing arguments. (Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)

Professor Milligan Discusses Constitutionality of Police Use of GPS Trackers

WHAS11 News recently featured a story that revealed the Louisville Metro Police Department's use of GPS tracking devices to survail suspects. Professor Luke Milligan was interviewed to provide expertise on the legal issues, with particular regards to investigations that were conducted without court orders. Milligan said, "The court has a blind spot particularly when it comes to keeping up with emerging technologies.  Today we find ourselves in the midst of one of these blind spots... But it clearly violates the spirit of the 4th Amendment.  And I think there is no question that the court will eventually come around." The report is available at WHAS11's website.

Source: LMPD reveals use of GPS tracking, sometimes without a warrant

JAEL Taking Note Submissions

The Journal of Animal & Environmental Law is accepting student papers for possible publication in our Second Issue, due out in the Spring. If you have written a paper, or will be turning one in this semester, relating to Animal or Environmental Law, please consider submitting for consideration. You may email your paper to our Senior Notes Editor at: JAELSr.NotesEditor@gmail.com. 

Academic Success Tip - Analyze the Elements

Analyze each element of the relevant causes of action in your examination answer.  For example, an Assault is often defined as the intentional placement of another in apprehension of an imminent battery.  If the fact pattern on your torts exam raises the possibility of “A” assaulting “B”, then you MUST address all the elements of an assault.  Was the defendant’s conduct intentional, was the plaintiff placed in apprehension, and was that apprehension of an imminent battery?  While you must address all of these elements, the depth of your analysis regarding each element will depend on the complexity of the problem.  For example, it might be quite obvious that the defendant was acting intentionally, but the real question is whether the plaintiff’s apprehension was of an imminent battery.  In this instance, your analysis of imminence will likely be longer than your analysis of intent.  Forcing yourself to analyze every element will accomplish two things: (1) it will let the professor know that you understand that every element of a cause of action must be proven; and (2) it will force you to consider whether each element has been satisfied, thus avoiding the mistake of failing to discuss a complex problem that, at least on the surface, seemed quite obvious.  (Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)

Academic Success Tip

Congratulations!  You have completed your first week of law school final exams.  The good news is that there is only one more week to go, and after finals you will have a much-deserved long break.  While it is important to take some time for yourself this weekend, do not abandon your studies.  You want to end strong, so be sure to devote enough hours to studying this weekend.  Do not procrastinate.  Good luck!

Donate Your Study Aids to the Academic Success Office

Graduating students and upper-division students:  Please consider donating your study aids to the Academic Success Office.  Not only will you free up some space in your home or apartment and provide a great resource for other law students in the future, but you may also claim a tax deduction for your donated books up to the amount of their cost.  If you are interested in donating some of your study aids, please stop by the Academic Success Office, Room 212.

Free Massages for Law Students

Massage therapists from Advanced Massage Therapeutics will be offering free chair massages for law students on Monday, December 7.  Massages will be offered in the Washer Lounge from noon to 6:00 p.m.  Students are encouraged to sign-up for an appointment time.  A sign-up sheet is posted in the Washer Lounge.  This service is sponsored by your Student Bar Association and the Academic Success Office.

Academic Success Tip - Legal Analysis

Your analysis is the most important thing that goes into a law school exam, so make sure it is in there!  Much of what students write when answering a law school exam is not legal analysis, and has originated in places other than the student’s mind.  The issues you will be dissecting were created by your professors and are contained within the examination fact patterns.  The same is true of the facts you will be discussing in your answer; they were created by your professor.  The law you will be relying on to resolve these issues originated in the cases and statutes you read during the course of the semester.  The only part of an essay answer unique to you is your commentary on WHY certain facts lead you to believe that a legal issue should be resolved in a particular way.  This commentary is legal analysis, and is the difference between the grades of “C” and “A” on a law school exam.  (Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)

Academic Success Tip - Do not Just List the Facts!

Listing facts is not the same thing as discussing them.  True legal analysis occurs when you explain to a reader why a fact (or facts) leads to a legal conclusion.  Consider the following examples. 

Example 1 - John told the plaintiff “I will hit you if you come around here again.”  Therefore, the battery was not imminent.

Example 2 – John told the plaintiff “I will hit you if you come around here again.” Generally, words alone cannot satisfy the imminence element of an assault.  More specifically, these words merely inform the listener that he might be “hit” at some point in the future.  The words “if you come around here again” placed a condition on the plaintiff being struck, which means that the plaintiff might never be struck by John.  The fact that John might never strike the plaintiff means that the battery cannot be imminent.

If you were not sure, example 2 is the better answer!  This is a somewhat obvious example to illustrate the point.  The pattern in the second example – note a fact (or facts) and then explain why you have brought it to the reader’s attention – consistently appears in well done legal analysis.

(Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)