Student News

Academic Success Tip - Final Exam Tip of the Semester

Be sure to address all reasonable alternative points of view.  Most students use the I-R-A-C formula when writing the answers to their law school exams.  This formula, which is quite similar to the C-R-E-A-C paradigm, stands for:  state the issue, provide the law, analyze the applicability of the facts to this law, and come to a conclusion.  Because addressing counter arguments is such an important part of legal analysis, the formula might be more accurately written as I-R-A1 (state the argument)-A2 (state any reasonable counterargument)-Conclude, or resolve which argument is better and WHY it is better.  In other words, I-R-A1-A2-C.  So what is a reasonable counterargument?  A counterargument is reasonable if it is based on the facts in the problem or reasonable inferences from those facts.  If you find yourself creating facts, then the counterargument you are creating is unlikely to be a reasonable one. (Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)

November Publications

Here are some highlights from the November 2009 issue of the Louisville Bar Association's monthly Bar Briefs publication.

  • Hunting Ghost Laws: Updating Kentucky Statutes and Finding New Laws by Professor Kurt Metzmeier (page 10)
  • My Mediating Experience: A Student's Perspective Working with Just Solutions by Lily K. Chan, 3L (page 23)
  • Lawlapalooza Tour 2009 Rocked! (page 6)
  • Brandeis Featured on Commemorative Stamp (page 7)
  • Kimberly Ballard, Director of Academic Success, appears in Members on the Move (page 27)

Here are some highlights from the November 2009 issue of the Kentucky Bar Association's Bench & Bar publication.

  • Linda Ewald's article, "A Lawyer's Duty to Report under New Rule 8.3 of the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct", was published in the November issue of Bench & Bar (page 5).
  • "Of time and the circle", by Jim Chen (page 47).

Copies of each are available in the library's reserves.

Academic Success Tip - Exam Tip

Objectivity and indecisiveness are not the same thing.  When students attempt to perform objective legal analysis, they often fall into the trap of being indecisive as opposed to objective.  When performing objective legal analysis, you must still come to a conclusion.  It’s just that your conclusion is the product of carefully considering all reasonable alternatives.  Telling the reader that a problem could be resolved in two ways, but that the final answer will “depend on what the court thinks” is tantamount to telling the reader “this is hard, so you figure it out!” (Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)

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.