Thursday, July 14, 2005

Great New Browser - mozilla "firefox" and email "thunderbird"

I have now been using mozilla "firefox", a brand new browser, and I love it. If you are looking to change, I would highly recommend downloading it and giving it a "whirl around the block". I also use the mozilla program "thunderbird" for my email, and it works great. What I love about both programs is that it incoprates your previous preferences from Internet Explorer, so you can just pick up where you left off. Let me know how it works for you. I am amazed at how well it serves me. And as you know I do a lot of "browsing" as an online instructor. Good Luck. Prof. J.

Volunteer Work

Why is volunteering, especially in the legal field so important.

Your reasons for volunteering are as individual as you are, but no matter what your reasons you can get a lot out of volunteering. You can learn about yourself, learn about others and meet a lot of interesting people by volunteering. You can help others as you help yourself. 20 ways to volunteer.

So get active today, and volunteer in the legal field .

Good luck. Prof J.

The use of "I believe" in legal analysis

I have noticed a number of students start out their legal analysis with "I feel" or "it is my opinion" - this is not a strong start to your legal analysis - look at the information on persuasive appellate briefs.

Quoting from that article:

"Judges are generally bright people. (Any judge who is reading this is definitely one of the bright ones!) They have a keen sense of the law, and they can quickly detect a bogus (i.e., fake, foggy, far-fetched) argument. While some lawyers may make deliberately bogus arguments, I think that lawyers more often do so because they don't really understand their cases, the law, or the law's application to their facts. They try to hide their ignorance in their writing. But it shows every time. Your argument will strike the judge as bogus if it displays too many of the following characteristics:

Exclamation marks!
Long, convoluted sentences that talk around the rules and facts instead of addressing them directly.
Needless repetition, including repetition of rules in the section that should instead be applying those rules to the case facts.
More law set out in quotations than in your own words of explanation.
Lots of adjectives and adverbs.
Personal attacks on the lawyers for the other side.
Insertion of your personal opinion or emotion ("I think," "we feel").
Merely citing cases without explaining how they apply.
Rolling two or more distinct issues into a single discussion.
Any conclusion that should "clearly," "obviously," or "undoubtedly" be reached. "

So what have you learned in this blog. Do Not start your legal analysis with "I believe", etc. Hope this helps. Prof J.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Improve your law quiz and assignment scores

Now that you have taken a few law quizzes, and you received possibly a low score, i.e. 40 -60, you are thinking either the "quizzes are completely unfair", or "that I am really stupid and should never become a paralegal" - actually neither are completely true (just kidding). Actually what is happening is that you are being asked to "kick your skills up a notch". Legal Analysis is actually a very funny "animal" - and very frustrating. You must move from the "concrete" to the "abstract". It is like you were playing baseball, and your batting average was .400 but you were only being "dished up" straight balls, and now the slider, and curve ball, and knuckle ball all are being introduced, and your average now plummets to .150 (sorry if you do not like baseball metaphor).

So take heart. There are a number of things you can do. read the following inforrmation - click here to improve your scores

First make sure you know each word you read. So go to an online dictionary and look up even the simple words you thought you understood. Then make sure you look up all of the legal words. Then read the facts of each case as if it were a story. Diagram with pencil stick figures the main characters and use arrows to show their relationship and what they are doing to each other. This helps you to understand the story. Legal facts can be very confusing a lot of the time. If you do not know the story you will not know the law I can promise you. Then finally follow the 7 steps of Critical Thinking when you read your law mateials. I think that most students are having "real problems" with steps 6 - Synthesis and step 7 - Evaluation, so go down to steps 1-5 and get those down first, and then jump up to 6 and 7. hope this helps a little. Prof. J.