With 2004 only a few weeks away, one large hurdle (or 5 medium-sized hurdles) remains for this year: exams.
For years, law students have written exams in the dreaded bluebooks. This year, Brooklyn has joined the computerized exam party. While ExamSoft is not quite as bad as Diebold e-voting software, it has some key flaws of its own. Most important, ExamSoft is proprietary Windows software and will not run on Mac OS X. Slightly less important, but annoying, is the lack of on-the-fly spellcheck. The dotted red underlines are a friendly safety blanket, which I rely on for catching typos (on the Mac, it is a feature of the OS and is available in all applications, including Safari, Mail, iChat.)
Since I type much faster and neater than I write, I will be typing exams on computer. Subjecting professors to unnecessarily reading pages of my handwriting could be considered cruel and unusual form of punishment. Since this is the first time in law school that using a Mac has been inconvenient, I needed to find a Windows laptop to use for writing exams. Fortunately, my grandfather lent me his old computer, a PII-vintage Dell. This computer dwarfs the iBook:
As an exam-computer, not as an everyday computer, the Dell is good. The price was right and the keyboard on the Dell is an improvement over Apple’s. Still, no computer keyboard, especially on a notebook is as good as the old IBM keyboards. Of course, those weigh more than my entire computer. A bluetooth version of that would kick ass.
And here’s my advice on how to do well on exams: Write a song about the subject. Seriously. What course did I get my best grade in last year? The one I wrote a song as a study aid. A limerick or poem might be useful, too. Or just read Getting to Maybe. And don’t blog, outline. Maybe I should follow that advice…
Actually, one real piece of advice (though it may be too late):Don’t bother with third-party materials. Remember that you’re being tested on the subject as taught by your particular professor. Unless, of course, your professor wrote the hornbook. Law review articles that your professor has written about the particular subject may be useful. Or not.
Jeremy offers exam advice, Exam Survivor challenege, well-intentioned exam advice
Scheherazade has actually useful study advice.

In print

Not long ago, LawDork popped up in my Technorati Link Cosmos as one of the sites linking here. Chris (LawDork) noted an article in the November issue of The National Jurist (a free throwaway magazine targeting to law students) about blogging which mentions this little site.
Since my innate narcissism got the best of me, I found this magazine (in a rack hidden away in corner of the student lounge) and there on page 7, in “Blogs to know and love,” between the Volokhs and Jewish Buddha is “Shameless Self Promotion: Music and arts issues from Brooklyn Law School 1L Andrew Raff.” I don’t think that’s quite how I’d describe my blogging, but then, I’m not quite sure how I would. I guess I should also note that I am a 2L (second year student.)
Other blogs mentioned include Jeremy Blachman, Andrew Sinclair and Life, Law, Libido.
The cover article asks “law school’s most famous grads what they liked and hated about law school.” Some of the preeminent legal minds of our time who respond, including Ann Coulter, Geraldo Rivera and Jerry Springer. Such esteemed company.

Tuition at NY Metro area law schools

Got a letter from school today stating the tuition rate for the upcoming year. What’s interesting is that it compares the tuition at all NY area law schools.

Full-time tuition at NY metro area law schools:
School Tuition Fees
Columbia 34,580 784
NYU 34,000 900
Fordham 30,930 416
Brooklyn 31,070 (1L)
30,200 (2L)
29,450 (3L)
Cardozo 30,900 (1L)
29,510 (2L&3L)
New York Law School 32,090 460
Hofstra 28,434 800
Pace 28,960 110
St. John’s 28,400 n/a
Touro 24,240 450

(part time data omitted by me, because I wanted to type less)
It would be very interesting to index this by the average starting salary for graduates of each school…

WiFi, WiFi everywhere

I’m sitting outside on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade working on the writing competition. After a few minutes, I looked up to the top of the screen and realized I was on the internet via an open WiFi network. So I’m posting this just because I can.


Because I’m obviously going insane, here are some song lyrics inspired by my contracts outline.
Got a Contract for our love
written down in the stars above
Offer accepted our minds have met
consideration means we’re set
I’ve got a Contract for our love
Because our love can’t end within one year
The statute of frauds applies my dear
And so that makes it very clear
that a signed writing is needed here
I’ve got a Contract for our love
You can rely on me
Especially if you rely reasonably
when it induces action it’s certainly
within restatement section 90
I’ve got a contract for our love
Our love isn’t governed by the UCC
since you’re not a whore, nor should you be
but if you were, you’d have an implied warranty
and good faith as required by §2-103
Got a Contract for our love
written down in the stars above
Offer accepted our minds have met
consideration means we’re set
I’ve got a contract for our love
You’ll know when I’ve gone completely insane when I actually record this (it’s not such a bad tune.)


Last week, I went to an info session for the law journals. For those of you not aware, law reviews are student-edited scholarly journals. Even though membership on a journal involves lots of drudgery, the experience is apparently worthwhile if you enjoy esoteric points of legal scholarship and nitpicking. (See Tung Yin: Law Review: Worth it or not?) However, making Law Review is like a gold star that goes on your resume. To do so involves either have super-excellent first year grades (not me) or writing an excellent paper in the writing competition. Our writing competition is the weekend after finals end. Fun.
When I was evaluating schools, one factor I didn’t pay much attention to was the availability of opportunities for journal membership. Brooklyn is home to 3 journals: Law Review, Journal of International Law, Journal of Law & Policy. As a point of comparison, the other NY-area schools have many more opportunities for journal memberships. Cardozo, Fordham and NYU each have six journals. If publishing journals is a competition, Columbia is the clear winner in NYC, with fourteen journals.
Of course, since lawyers are so status-conscious, each journal has a varying level of prestige, with Law Reviews being the most prestigious and more specialized journals having less general prestige. (Of course, if you want to work in an esoteric speciality, the esoteric journal might be better.) The most-cited American Legal Periodical is Harvard Law Review (followed by Yale and Columbia.)
Academic writing through journals are only one type of the experiences available in law school. Clinical programs and moot court teams are probably more practical for the vast majority of law students who aren’t going on to be professors, but for those students who go into practice, when else will you be able to work on legal scholarship? As for me, I’ll be polishing up that writing competition the weekend after finals while trying to subvert my classmates into not participating.1
1OK, I won’t really be participating in any subversion. I think.

Like deja vu, all over again

Denise Howell links to a number of blogs of next year’s crop of law students. Ahh, the memories of applying to law school.
I had a strong sense of deja vu this week while reading a chapter in the property casebook discussing unlawful discrimination and the Fair Housing Act. I realized that it was because I had seen the section before– it was the topic of the mock class I attended at the admitted student day at Cardozo last year.
Unfortunately, most of these pre-1L bloggers use Blogspot, and don’t have RSS feeds. Hopefully the Google-hosted Blogspot will soon add RSS for all its users, so that people who want a free, easy-to-use blog, can also be easy to read.