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Academic Success Tip - Find Time for Exam Preparation

Tip #2:  Take advantage of “windfall” time.   Always keep tasks handy that can be used as study “fillers” when unexpected time becomes available.  Working with flashcards, rewriting a rule several times for memory, or reviewing a chunk of an outline can create productive time when a ride or study buddy is late.

Chili Cook-off is a Success!

Congratulations to Jim Becker! His entry, "Melinda Becker's Deer Chili", won for the second consecutive year. Following by just a 1/2 vote, was Becky Wimberg's award-winning southwest chili, aka "Becky's Kickin' Chicken Chili".

Thanks so much to all who purchased a meal! A grand total of $317, which will be split among the five charities of the UofL Cares campaign, was raised.

Other tasty entries included:

  • Kathy Bean's "Cleveland Art Museum Tomato Basil Soup" and her husband's "Bombay Bob's Vegan Red Lentil Soup"
  • Tom Blackburn's "Turkey Chili"
  • Becky Wenning's "Homemade Beef Stew"
  • Vickie & Leslie Tencers' homemade "Cream of Mushroom Soup"
  • Kimberly Ballard's "Vegetarian Chili with Whole Wheat Pasta"

Many thanks to the following individuals who also contributed: Charlene Taylor, Janet Sullivan, Rita Siegwald, Debra Reh, Peggy Bratcher, Jina Scinta, Brandon Hamilton, Brenda Hill, Ariana Levinson, Grace Giesel, Barbara Thompson, Jodi Duce, Kathy Urbach, and Angela Beverly.

If you haven't already made a pledge, we hope you'll do so now.  To make a pledge on-line or to print out a form to contribute by mail, visit UofL Cares.  

Kimberly Ballard at Chili Cook-off  Becky Wimberg at Chili Cook-off

Academic Success Tip - Find Time for Exam Preparation

Everybody is sliding into “studying for exams” mode.  Time becomes a critical variable now.  It is important to find time for all of your tasks.  It is also important to be productive with that time.  This week's tips will focus on how to get more time out of each day and be more productive during studying.

Tip #1:  Evaluate your day for “lost” time.   Look for time wasted in the following ways:  unproductive time between classes; assignment time stretched to 3 hours when with more diligence it could have been finished in 2 ½ hours; delay in starting a project because “I have all day;” inefficient and scattered errand running or other non-school tasks; completion of chores or other non-school tasks during prime study time.  If only ½ hour is captured each day of the week, it nets 3 ½ hours of extra study time.

Academic Success Tip - Beware of Bad Advice

Bad advice:  You can’t do any practice questions until right before the exam because you don’t know enough.

Why this advice is bad advice:

  • Exams are all about applying the concepts and law that you have learned all semester to new fact scenarios or legal problems.
  • You wouldn’t go on a black diamond ski slope without lots of practice.  Why would you go into an exam without having worked on several practice questions throughout the semester?
  • A multitude of practice questions are available that test your knowledge on sub-topics and topics and not just entire courses.

Alternatives:

  • Do some practice questions at the end of each sub-topic to test your application skills.  Can you spot the issues and sub-issues?  Can you apply the concepts correctly?  Can you apply the rules and exceptions to the rules?
  • Practice your approach to questions:  how will you analyze the question; how will you marshal the facts; how will you organize your answer; how will you write the answer in the most concise way.
  • Become more adept by starting with one-issue questions, then progressing to two- or three-issue questions, then progressing to more extensive questions.  Once you can organize and answer shorter questions, you can practice your organization for longer questions.
  • Use multiple sources of questions:  ones handed out by the professor; questions in study aids; questions you and your study partners write and swap; questions from prior exams.  
  • Schedule practice question time each week for each course so that you do not forget to practice or put off practice too long.

Academic Success Tip - Beware of Bad Advice (Cont'd)

This week’s tips focus on bad advice that is often given out by well-intentioned students.  Critique these pieces of advice carefully and consider the alternatives.

Bad Advice:  You don’t have to study as hard for an open-book exam because you can look up anything that you want.

Why this advice is bad advice:

  • You will have very little time to look up anything during the exam.  Open-book exams are traps for the naïve.
  • If you are only generally familiar with the material, you will not have in-depth knowledge to spot all of the issues and to support your arguments.
  • “Open book” may have a very limited definition (Ex. code book but no outlines or notes).  "Open book" may have a very limited value-added component (Ex. you may not write in your rule book that is allowed in the exam).

Alternatives:

  • Treat an open-book exam with the same reverence as a closed-book exam.
  • Study the material so well that you “own it” rather than being generally familiar with it.  Then, you will not need to look up much.
  • If it is a code/rule course, you want to have a solid memory for at least a “condensed” version of a code section or rule because you will not have time to look up and read every code section or rule during the exam.
  • If a code/rule book is allowed, make sure you have extensive practice in using that source so you are efficient in its use if you must look something up.
  • Know exactly what the professor will allow you to bring to the exam and any restrictions on writing in books, etc.  Then, plan how to use those resources most efficiently and effectively and only when necessary.
  • Make good and creative use of tabs for code/rule books if allowed by the professor.

Academic Success Tip - Beware of Bad Advice

This week’s tips focus on bad advice that is often given out by well-intentioned students.  Critique these pieces of advice carefully and consider the alternatives.

Bad advice:  When you have someone else’s outline for the course, you don’t have to make your own outline.

Why this advice is bad advice:

  • Having the outline of someone else who did well in a course does not mean that you will do well in the course.  You will only do well if you know the material in-depth and understand it and can apply it.  Having an outline from an anonymous source is even less positive because you do not even know if the student who created it did well in the course.
  • An outline matches someone else’s learning styles and may not match how you learn material.  It also does not tell you how to apply the material to new fact scenarios – the very essence of law school exams.
  • Outlines of other students are shortcuts that avoid your having to process the information yourself.  Processing the information through your own outlines increases understanding and retention of material.
  • Outlines from prior years may not include changes in the law, changes in the professor’s approach to a subject, and changes in textbooks.  Unless you are carefully taking notes and outlining, you may miss important changes since the last time the professor taught the course.
  • When each member of a study group outlines one course and then gives her/his outline to the other study group members, the same type of problems can result.  Each study group member will know the course s/he outlined very well.  Each study group member will only have a partial understanding of the other two or three courses.

Alternatives:

  • If you have not already done so, begin NOW to process material and make your own outlines.  Use any outlines you have depended upon up to now only as comparisons.
  • Consider whether you can condense material before you put it in your own outlines so that you will not have to condense your outlines later.
  • Be efficient and effective in making your own outlines: do not include everything – include the important things that give you the bigger picture and inter-relationships.
  • Consider whether flowcharts and other visuals will be helpful for you as a way to condense the material and understand the “big picture” of the course.

The Bar Exam - What You Need to Know!

Mark your calendars for Monday, October 26!  Learn what you can do now to prepare for the upcoming Bar Exam.  This presentation is open to all Brandeis law students, but will be more applicable to upper-division law students.  This workshop will cover the various components of the bar exam in multiple states, planning, a day in the life of the bar examinee, and strategies for the essay and multiple choice components of the bar exam.  For those upper-division students with class beginning at 12:35 or 12:45, you are invited to stay until you need to leave for class.  The presentation will be in Room 275 from noon to 12:50.  Food will be provided.  

Academic Success Tip - Beware of Bad Advice

This week’s tips will focus on bad advice that is often given out by well-intentioned students.  Critique these pieces of advice carefully and consider the alternatives.

Bad Advice:  Save up your absences and use all of them the last two weeks of class so that you can focus on exam studying.

Why this advice is bad advice:

  • Important topics are often covered at the end of classes because the topics are more advanced than some of the material you have had previously.  You will be dependent on another student’s version of the material if you cut classes.
  • Your professors are likely to tie the course together in the last weeks of class.  You will be dependent on another student’s version of the course if you cut classes.
  • Your professors are likely to talk about the exam in more detail during the last weeks of class.  You will be dependent on another student’s version of the exam instructions, tips, and study guidelines if you cut classes.
  • You will go into exams with less personal understanding of the material covered at the end of the semester.  Some professors emphasize material covered at the end of classes very heavily in the exam questions.
  • If you follow this advice, you will also not be reading your cases.  You will only be more behind in understanding the course than you were previously.

Alternatives:

  • Plan your time management for the coming weeks so that you get all of the tasks done that are necessary for success – including going to class prepared.
  • Do not stop reading your cases.  You need to understand the material through the last class.  Become more efficient and effective in your reading.
  • If you do not know how to structure your time for the remainder of the semester to get each task done, visit the Academic Success Office for help.

Trager Wins Pirtle-Washer Oral Advocacy Competition

Congratulations to Duffy Trager, winner of the 2009 Pirtle-Washer Oral Advocacy Competition!

2009 Pirtle-Washer Participants

The semifinal and final rounds were held on Friday, October 9th in the Allen Courtroom.

Here’s the schedule:

9 AM, Semifinal Round

  • Appellant: Duffy Trager
  • Appellee: Algeria Ford

10:30 AM, Semifinal Round
  • Appellant: Eric Lowe
  • Appellee: Barry Dunn
Semifinalists
 

Duffy B. Trager is a native of Louisville.  He earned his B.A. in Political Science and Religious Studies from Western Kentucky University in 2006.  In law school, he competed on the 2008 National Moot Court Team.  He is currently Constitutional Law Editor of the Journal of Law and Education, founder and Vice President of the International Law Society and a Marshall - Brennan Fellow.  In the summer of 2009, he was awarded an IOLTA Fellowship with Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services.  Duffy has recently become an avid runner.

Algeria Ford
is a third year law student and the winner of last year’s Pirtle-Washer competition.  He has a range of interests including criminal and civil litigation, intellectual property law, and environmental law.  He would like to thank his wife for her continued support.

Eric Lowe
is from Mt. Washington, Kentucky, but currently lives in the Louisville area.  He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of the Cumberlands, in Williamsburg, Kentucky, where he played varsity football and competed in Parliamentary Debate.  Throughout his career at the Cumberlands, he studied in the areas of Communication and Political Science.  Currently, he is a second year evening student and has been employed full time throughout his law school career at Bullitt Central High School.  At the law school he participates in various programs and activities such as: University of Louisville Law Review, Moot Court Board, Student Bar Association, and as a member of the Health Law Moot Court Team.  He is honored to have been selected to compete in the Pirtle Washer finals and would like to wish all if his fellow competitors congratulations and best wishes.

Barry Dunn
is a Columbia, Kentucky, native who received his undergraduate education at Lindsey Wilson College before obtaining an M.A. in political science from the University of Cincinnati.  Mr. Dunn came to law school after teaching eighth grade social studies.  He currently serves as President of the Moot Court Board and Notes Editor for the University of Louisville Law Review.  Mr. Dunn is also a member of the school's National Moot Court Competition team.  Mr. Dunn has worked for the law firms Stoll Keenon Ogden and Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs.  After law school, he hopes to clerk for a federal judge for one year before practicing litigation.


Presiding Judges


Each semifinal round was judged by the following three judge panel:


Appellant, Duffy Trager, and Appellee, Barry Dunn, advanced to the final round at 1 PM, which was judged by the following:


Remembering Lively Wilson

Lively Wilson was an admired and respected member of the legal profession who made a significant impact on the judicial system in Southern Indiana and Kentucky.  A native of Kentucky and a Harvard Law School graduate, he was a role model and mentor to an entire generation of lawyers in the region. 
 
As a member of the Stites & Harbison firm in Louisville since 1953, Lively Wilson had a national reputation for his commitment to civility and professionalism by both civil and criminal trial lawyers.  He spoke about the importance of professionalism when he delivered the law school’s 2005 commencement address. 

His reflections about his practice in Kentucky are included in “Kentucky Lawyers Speak:  Oral History from Those Who Lived It,” the recently published book of interviews with seventy-four Kentucky lawyers.  In 1995, Lively Wilson and Dean Donald Burnett founded the Louis D. Brandeis Inns of Court. 

As a tribute to his example, in 2003 Edward H. Stopher, and the firm of Boehl Stopher & Graves and the Stites & Harbison firm, through the leadership of T. Kennedy Helm III, provided support to create the Lively M. Wilson Oral Advocacy Program.  The fund provided for furnishing the Moot Court office and establishing an endowment to fund participation in oral advocacy competitions.  Other major support came from Ronald E. Christian ’83 and the estate of Arnold Robinson ’61.

On July 22, 2009, Lively Wilson lost his valiant three-year battle with cancer.  Kennedy Helm’s email to the community noted that “Lively’s most recent gift to us was the example of optimism, grace and dignity he exhibited every day that he fought his illness.”