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Advice for Rising 2L’s

There is currently a large amount of advice in the blogosphere for incoming 1L’s. For example:

However, I am aware of very little advice on the blogosphere that is directed towards rising 2L’s. In retrospect, with 20/20 hindsight (now that law school and the bar exam are over), I wish I had realized a few things at the beginning of my 2L year. 


Here is my own advice for 2L’s:


The most important thing you can do at this moment is reconsider your schedule. Right now you still have a window of time in which you can add or drop classes. Although there are waiting lists, it is often possible to add a class that you couldn’t when you originally scheduled. So right now you need to plan ahead and consider your schedule for the next two years. Don’t just think about your 2L year, but consider a strategy for your 2L and 3L years. You are not bound by such a strategy, and can always make necessary changes, but you need to have a foundation that you can work from. In particular, this means balancing your credit load between your second and third years, and choosing the right classes (which will depend on your own goals and interests).


I strongly suggest, if at all possible, that you take more credits your second year, and fewer credits your third year. This advice will seem obvious to some, but many students prefer to have fewer credits their second year so they have more time and energy to focus on their studies after an overwhelming first year. I deliberately took a lighter load my second year for several reasons, which at the time seemed necessary. But in retrospect I wish I had added at least 1 or 2 credits each semester of my second year, so that my time would have been more flexible my third year.


Make your third year the year that you have a lower credit load, so that you are prepared for opportunities (whether work-related or school-related) that come up. For example, I received an unexpected job offer for the first semester of my 3L year (unexpected because I was applying for a summer job at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and instead they offered me a Fall semester job, which I accepted). That first semester was an overwhelming amount of work, including a part-time job, a heavy credit load with very difficult classes, the writing of a Recent Development for journal, and family responsibilities. It would have been better for me to have taken one of those classes (or an equivalent) my 2L year.


I recommend that you add a credit here and there when possible. For example, if your school offers 1-credit classes during your Fall and Spring breaks (which are often pass/fail), take advantage of them. It may not seem like much at the time, but the credits will add up and you will alleviate the burden on your third year.


Taking more credits your second year will enable you to have more flexibility your third year. You will have greater freedom to take courses that interest you, because with fewer credits there will be fewer schedule conflicts. You will have more time for a clinic, an independent study project (such as 3L Epiphany), and/or a more substantial job. The value of having more time and greater flexibility in your third year cannot be overemphasized.


If you are able to add a class, then do so by making a careful assessment of your 1L experience. Are there any patterns that emerge? Did you do better in exam courses, or courses with written assignments? Did you do better on essay exams or multiple choice? Take all of this into consideration. If there is a professor that you “clicked” with, stick with him or her. Take courses that you know you will like because of the content, or because of the professor, and that are more likely to improve your GPA. I realize this advice might seem outdated since you have already scheduled your classes, but I offer it as a suggestion for 2L’s who have planned on taking a lighter credit load this coming year.


Just because you did not do so well in a general class does not preclude you from taking (and doing well) in a specialty class within that general topic. That is, if you didn’t do well in Property, but you think you would enjoy Eminent Domain, don’t talk yourself out of it. Other examples might be Torts and Products Liability, or Constitutional Law and 14th Amendment, etc. Take what interests you, and don’t assume you will not do as well based on your experience in one first year class.


Bar review after graduation will teach you what you need to know for the bar exam. Be careful of taking a course just because it’s on the bar, especially if there’s a good chance it will lower your GPA. BarBri does a more-than-adequate job of preparing you for the exam if you follow their schedule (I can’t vouch for other bar review courses). You only go through law school once, and it’s over before you know it, so be sure to enroll in classes that you really want to take. This obviously doesn’t mean you should avoid each and every bar course, but just make sure you are taking a well-rounded schedule that includes some classes you enjoy. (If you come back to this post in late October and the paragraph you are now reading has disappeared, you will know why.)


Don’t expect that a course on the schedule this year will be there next year. That is, if a course is offered in your second year, don’t assume that you can take it your third year instead. For this you should talk to the registrar, or the professor offering the course. I neglected to sign-up for a course my second year because it was a particular professor’s specialty, and I assumed he would be there my 3L year. Unfortunately the professor accepted a position at another law school, and I never got to take what would have been an excellent class.


One more piece of advice: This is an election year. If you are a political news junkie, schedule a specific time for paying attention to political news, and don’t let that time be open-ended. Watch the news or read political commentary for perhaps a ½ hour or an hour a day, and then don’t look at it again. If you come across an article that is a must-read and that takes you over the allotted time, table it for the next day. Don’t become preoccupied with current events, because they are simply too distracting. If you want to pay attention to politics, do so in a way that earns you credit (i.e. taking Election Law) or adds something to your resume.


Any readers who wish to leave more advice, or to agree/disagree with mine, should feel free in the comments.

August 23, 2006 in Advice for Law Students | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Law Review Articles Citing Legal Blogs

This is a new collection of law review articles which cite legal blogs. It is an update to the collection posted four months ago (April 19th), and includes both recently published articles and ones which were previously overlooked. Unlike the earlier collection, this updated version does not include articles from state or local bar journals. Law review articles which merely list legal blogs are also omitted. 


There are 489 article citations of legal blogs in this collection, with 75 legal blogs being cited. Several law review articles are listed more than once.


The collection is available for downloading here:


The legal blogs with the most citations are:


The legal blogs with the greatest overall increase in citations are:


The 75 blogs included in this collection are listed below, with the number of citations for each blog in parentheses:

  1. Althouse (6)
  2. Appellate Law and Practice (2)
  3. Bag and Baggage (3)
  4. Balkinization (32)
  5. The Becker-Posner Blog (12)
  6. Beyond Structured Settlements (1)
  7. Blakely Blog (inactive) (2)
  8. Capital Defense Weekly (5)
  9. Concurring Opinions (5)
  10. The Confrontation Blog (9)
  11. Conglomerate (8)
  12. CONSEJO (inactive) (1)
  13. ContractsProf Blog (2)
  14. Corpreform.com (1)
  15. Daily Developments in EEO Law (1)
  16. Disability Law (1)
  17. Discourse.net (5)
  18. Dubitante (inactive) (1)
  19. Elder Law Prof Blog (1)
  20. Electronic Discovery and Evidence (1)
  21. Eminent Domain Watch (2)
  22. Equal Vote (4)
  23. ER Law & News (inactive) (1)
  24. EU Law Blog (1)
  25. Ex Parte (1)
  26. How Appealing (30)
  27. Ideoblog (4)
  28. Instapundit (8)
  29. Intel Dump (1)
  30. I/P Updates (1)
  31. IPKat (1)
  32. Is That Legal? (3)
  33. The JAG Hunter (inactive) (1)
  34. Jottings by an Employer’s Lawyer  (1)
  35. Legal Profession in Poland (inactive) (1)
  36. Legal Theory Blog (30)
  37. Leiter Reports (10)
  38. Lessig Blog (21)
  39. Mauled Again (1)
  40. Ms. Morality (inactive) (1)
  41. Navigating the Patent Maze (4)
  42. New York Civil Law (1)
  43. Ninomania (1)
  44. Ninth Circuit Blog (3)
  45. Nomination Nation (inactive) (1)
  46. Opinio Juris (5)
  47. Patently-O: Patent Law Blog (17)
  48. The Patry Copyright Blog (2)
  49. PrawfsBlawg (4)
  50. ProfessorBainbridge.com (16)
  51. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) Blog (1)
  52. Religion Clause (1)
  53. (The Return of) Ignatz (inactive) (2)
  54. The Right Coast (2)
  55. RiskProf (1)
  56. SCOTUSBlog (32)
  57. Scrivener’s Error (1)
  58. Sentencing Law and Policy (78)
  59. Southern District of Florida Blog (1)
  60. Sports and the Law Report (inactive) (1)
  61. Start Making Sense (1)
  62. Statutory Construction Zone (inactive) (1)
  63. Tax & Business Law Commentary (1)
  64. A Taxing Blog (inactive) (1)
  65. TaxProf Blog (5)
  66. Texas Law Blog (inactive) (1)
  67. The TTABlog (2)
  68. The UCL Practitioner (2)
  69. Underneath Their Robes (2)
  70. The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog (2)
  71. The Volokh Conspiracy (62)
  72. White Collar Crime Prof Blog (10)
  73. Workplace Prof Blog (1)
  74. The Yin Blog (1)
  75. 3L Epiphany (2) 

August 16, 2006 in Law Review Articles Citing Legal Blogs | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Stay Tuned...

I realize that I haven't been blogging much lately. I am currently working on an updated list of law review articles which cite legal blogs. There have been a number since I last counted, so it is taking a little while. I plan to post the new collection by the end of the week.

August 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Blogosphere Grows to 50 Million

At Sifrey’s Alerts, there is a new State of the Blogosphere. (I wrote about the previous one from February here.) Some quick but amazing excerpts:

The report is well worth reading in its entirety. (Hat tip: Bag and Baggage.)

August 9, 2006 in Blogosphere | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cases Citing Legal Blogs - Updated List

This is a collection of court cases that cite legal blogs. It is an update to this previous list, which included quotations from the cases. Since April 15, 2006, when that list was first posted, there have been 6 additional court cases citing legal blogs. Those are named and quoted in these two posts. At the time of this current post (August 6, 2006), there are 32 citations of legal blogs from 27 different cases, with 8 legal blogs being cited.


Crime and Federalism – 1 citation

  1. Priester v. Rich, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36831, *11 n4 (D. Ga. 2006) – citation to commentary on blog

De Novo - 1 citation

  1. United States v. Scott, 450 F.3d 863, 894 n5 (9th Cir. 2006) – citation to commentary on blog

How Appealing – 1 citation

  1. Kennedy v. Lockyer, 379 F.3d 1041, 1065 (9th Cir. 2004) – citation to interview on blog

Legal Theory Blog – 1 citation

  1. Brasher’s Cascade Auto Auction v. Valley Auto Sales & Leasing, 119 Cal. App. 4th 1038, 1057 (Cal. Ct. App. 2004) – citation to lexicon on blog

Patently-O – 1 citation

  1. Collaboration Props. v. Tandberg ASA, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43930, *11 (D. Cal. 2006) – citation to document on blog

Sentencing Law and Policy – 24 citations in 19 cases

  1. United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220, 278 (2005) (Stevens, J., dissenting) – citation to document on blog
  2. United States v. Penaranda, 375 F.3d 238, 247 (2d Cir. 2004) – citation to blog generally 
  3. United States v. Ameline, 376 F.3d 967, 978 (9th Cir. 2004); Ameline, 376 F.3d at 986 (Gould, J., dissenting) – 2 citations by majority to articles on blog, 1 citation by dissent to blog generally
  4. United States v. Cage, 451 F.3d 585, *26 n5 (10th Cir. 2006) – citation to commentary on blog
  5. United States v. Rodriguez, 406 F.3d 1261, 1284 (11th Cir. 2005) (Tjoflat, J., dissenting) – citation to commentary on blog
  6. United States v. Levy, 391 F.3d 1327, 1341 (11th Cir. 2004) (Tjoflat, J., dissenting) – citation to commentary on blog
  7. United States v. Valencia-Aguirre, 409 F. Supp. 2d 1358, 1379 (D. Fla. 2006) – 1 citation to blog generally, 1 citation to commentary on blog
  8. United States v. Kandirakis, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53243, *3 n4 (D. Mass. 2006); Kandirakis, *44 n36 – 1 citation to document on blog, 1 citation to blog generally (but referring to analysis)
  9. United States v. Bailey, 369 F. Supp. 2d 1090, 1092 (D. Neb. 2005) – citation to commentary on blog
  10. United States v. Khan, 325 F. Supp. 2d 218, 223 (D. N.Y. 2004) – citation to blog generally
  11. United States v. Onunwor, Order NO. 1:04-CR-211 (N.D. Ohio Aug. 19, 2004) – citation to court order quoted on blog
  12. United States v. Phelps, 366 F. Supp. 2d 580, 584 (D. Tenn. 2005) – citation to document on blog
  13. United States v. Croxford, 324 F. Supp. 2d 1255, 1261 (D. Utah 2004) – citation to article on blog 
  14. United States v. Wilson (Feb. 2, 2005), 355 F. Supp. 2d 1269, 1271, 1286 (D. Utah 2005) – 1 citation to document on blog, 1 citation to commentary on blog
  15. United States v. Wilson (Jan. 12, 2005), 350 F. Supp. 2d 910, 922 (D. Utah 2005) – citation to commentary on blog
  16. United States v. Johnson, 333 F. Supp. 2d 573, 577 (D. W. Va. 2004) – citation to commentary on blog
  17. United States v. Greer, 375 F. Supp. 2d 790, 795 (D. Wis. 2005) – citation to announcement on blog
  18. Smylie v. State, 823 N.E.2d 679, 687 (Ind. 2005) – citation to commentary on blog
  19. State v. Foster, 2006 Ohio 856, P8 (Ohio 2006) – citation to blog generally 

The UCL Practitioner – 1 citation

  1. Tsukroff v. Hedgeside Property & Inv. Co., California Superior Court, Napa County, case no. 26-25117 (order dated 01/19/05) (unpublished) – citation to collection of court orders and appellate briefs on blog

The Volokh Conspiracy – 2 citations

  1. Harper v. Poway Unified Sch. Dist., 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 19164, *6 (9th Cir. 2006) (O’Scannlain, J., dissenting) – citation to commentary on blog
  2. Suboh v. Borgioli, 298 F. Supp. 2d 192, 194 (D. Mass. 2004) – citation to song parody on blog


* Note: The original list named the Ameline case twice, because it cites Sentencing Law and Policy in the majority and the dissent. Ameline is now listed once instead of twice. The original list also included the case of Batzel v. Smith, 351 F.3d 904, 906 (9th Cir. 2003). Batzel is not included in this updated list because it merely names examples of "popular and respected legal blogs" without citing any one as an authority. Those blogs are How Appealing (new URL), SCOTUSBlog, The Volokh Conspiracy, and Lessig Blog.

August 6, 2006 in Cases Citing Legal Blogs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

And Two More Cases...

In addition to the four cases here, there are two more cases citing legal blogs. They are:

1. Collaboration Props. v. Tandberg ASA, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43930, *11 (D. Cal. 2006)

A proposed amendment to the Patent Reform Act of 2005, which is currently pending before Congress in its original form, would eliminate venue based solely on the availability of personal jurisdiction. See Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 2795 (Patent Reform Act of 2005), available at http://patentlaw.typepad.com/patent/2005/08/patent_reform_a.html.

2. Priester v. Rich, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36831, *11 n4 (D. Ga. 2006)

A commentator argues:

First, it imposes a de facto 5-day statute of limitations on prisoner civil rights claims, even though under 42 U.S.C. Section 1988, the statute of limitations for civil rights actions is supposed to mirror the state's general personal injury statute of limitations. In Georgia, the relevant statute of limitations should have been two years. Under the Eleventh Circuit's reading of thePLRA, the statute of limitations for prison civil rights suit is 5 days. This disparate treatment of regular civil rights suits vs. prisoner civil rights suit is intolerable, and it is not required or even suggested by the PLRA's text, history, or structure.

Second, the Eleventh Circuit's reading of the PLRA allows potentially different limitations periods in every prison. Federal law, to the extent possible, should be uniform. By allowing each prison to set a different exhaustion deadline, there could potentially be as much disconformity as there are prisons.

(site as of 4/3/06).

August 6, 2006 in Cases Citing Legal Blogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Four New Cases Citing Legal Blogs

Three months ago I posted a collection of 23 court opinions which cite legal blogs. Since then there have been four more examples, which are listed below. These cases will be added to the “official” collection (the prior list) soon. Each case below is followed by the quote containing the blog citation, and some additional commentary.


The first two cases cite Sentencing Law and Policy, and the third case cites The Volokh Conspiracy. Most significantly, the fourth case cites De Novo, which is the first law student blog ever to be cited in a court opinion.  


1. United States v. Cage, 451 F.3d 585, *26 n5 (10th Cir. 2006) 

“According to a leading academic chronicler of sentencing decisions, "it seems all post-Booker within-guideline sentences and nearly all above-guidelines sentences are being found reasonable, whereas many below-guideline sentences are being reversed as unreasonable." Professor Douglas A. Berman, Sorting Through the Circuit Circus, Sentencing Law and Policy, at http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2006/04/
(April 28, 2006).”   


The Cage opinion was further discussed by Prof. Doug Berman here and here. The original blog post cited by the Cage opinion has also been updated (here). This demonstrates that once a court opinion cites to a blog, the post being cited can be updated and revised, and the blog can comment further on the case. Interestingly, the blog post cited in Cage is a collection of previous posts discussing  (and usually linking to) other court opinions.


2. United States v. Kandirakis, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53243, *3 n4 (D. Mass. 2006); Kandirakis, *44 n36 

“…see also Letter from Jon M. Sands, Federal Public Defender, to Hon. Ricardo Hinojosa, Chair, U.S. Sentencing Commission (July 19, 2006), Memorandum at 1 ("The Commission should not continue to recommend minimal constitutional protections."), available at http://sentencing.typepad.com/


“Though the presumption is purportedly rebuttable, as of July 31, 2006, the Sentencing Law and Policy Blog kept by Professor Douglas A. Berman of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (http://www.sentencing.typepad.com), and which reports in near-realtime on Booker and other sentencing issues, had noted only a single case in which a within-Guidelines sentence was reversed as unreasonable.”   


The Kandirakis opinion was further discussed on Sentencing Law and Policy here. Then, in a follow-up post, Prof. Berman linked to an analysis of Kandirakis at the Ninth Circuit Blog here. Once a court cites to a legal blog, that same blog can 1) discuss the case in a new post and 2) link to other blogs which are analyzing the case. By citing a legal blog, the court potentially joins itself to (and directs readers to) any subsequent analysis of the case on that same blog and in the legal blogosphere as a whole.


3. Harper v. Poway Unified Sch. Dist., 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 19164, *6 (9th Cir. 2006)

“A respected First Amendment scholar notes that the panel majority’s decision constitutes

a dangerous retreat from our tradition that the First Amendment is viewpoint-neutral. It’s an opening to a First Amendment limited by rights to be free from offensive viewpoints. It’s a tool for suppression of one side of public debates (about same-sex marriage, about Islam, quite likely about illegal immigration, and more) while the other side remains constitutionally protected and even encouraged by the government.

Eugene Volokh, Sorry, Your Viewpoint Is Excluded from First Amendment Protection, April 20, 2006, http://volokh.com/posts/1145577196.shtml.” 


The Harper opinion was further discussed by Prof. Volokh here. As already mentioned, legal blogging allows for post-citation commentary about the very case that cited the blog. Furthermore, a blog can enable interested readers to discuss the opinion in the comments. At the time of this (3L Epiphany) blog post, the post at the Volokh Conspiracy discussing Harper has 45 comments. The original post, the one cited by the Harper dissent (from the denial of rehearing en banc), now has 258 comments. A court citation to a legal blog thus allows readers of the blog to discuss the decision both on the original (cited) post and in subsequent posts about the case.


4. United States v. Scott, 450 F.3d 863, 894 n5 (9th Cir. 2006) 

“Judge Bybee's foresight has been echoed by the defense bar, noting that even though the majority is attempting to protect "the ideal espoused in our legal system that a citizen is innocent until proven guilty, . . . it is only fair to point to the problems that this may create from a policy standpoint. If all suspects charged with a crime retain all their rights if they are released, why would the state release them? I mean, they have to set reasonable bail, but if the accused cannot afford this bail, (so mainly the poor), they will have to remain behind bars until their trial." http://www.blogdenovo.org/archives/001073.html  (last accessed June 1, 2006).”   


The Scott decision is the first court case to cite a law student blog. (One arguable contender would be Jason Hernandez's "Blakely Blog" cited in Smylie v. State, but the context makes it clear that the judge was referring to Sentencing Law and Policy.)  De Novo is a law student group blog. Sean Sirrine authored the post that was cited in Scott while he was a 1L, but the court mistakenly characterized him as a member of the "defense bar." The original blog post cited now contains a correction of the error by "PG," another De Novo blogger. For an appellate court to cite a 1L's blog post (written before journal membership is even possible) is a remarkable event. The Scott citation is further discussed at the Volokh Conspiracy here.

August 3, 2006 in Cases Citing Legal Blogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Resumption of 3L Epiphany

The Ohio Bar is over, and I suppose the less said about it the better. It was truly a grueling experience, and it's difficult to predict the results. I actually feel more confident about the essays than the Multistate. Anyway, it's over now, and I will find out my results...in late October.

So back to blogging. There's a tremendous amount of "catch up" to do, and my time is limited. I am in the middle of both job-seeking and moving to a new home (within Columbus). But I do plan to get back into the habit of daily blogging, and there is plenty of ground to cover:

I expect that more law firms will eventually consider blogging to be an appropriate use of an associate's time, if done in a professional manner. A sophisticated legal blog can market a firm's expertise and attract potential clients, while maintaining the high level of insularity and discretion that a law firm culture requires. 

I should add, however, in the interests of pragmatic realism, that I will NOT be blogging if it becomes a hinderance to job-seeking. I can fully comprehend the reasons why law firms or government agencies would reject any blogging by their employees. If I am asked to discontinue blogging for the sake of receiving employment, I will do so. Professionalism requires a healthy understanding of priorities.

So my blogging at 3L Epiphany has resumed, and the next few weeks will clarify whether my participation in the legal blogosphere will continue. Please stay tuned...

August 2, 2006 in Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack