Friday, December 12, 2008


It took me about 30 seconds to realize I was in over my head, so to speak, during my civil procedure midterm. Before you jump to conclusions, I'll explain.

I spent the week leading up to the exam learning everything I could learn about civil procedure. All the things I didn't understand or learn or apply during the semester (which, as a result of my stubbornness and the style of teaching my professor employed, was just about everything) I taught myself. Actually, the more I think about it, the more impressive it is that I even went into the test with any confidence at all. How many people could learn civil procedure in a week?

So why was the test so far outside my scope of understanding? Glad you asked. The simple answer is, we weren't tested on civil procedure. No, the 24 page outline I created as a study guide with every single piece of relevant information, the separate outline indexing each of the applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and each of the relevant statutes in Title 28 of the U.S.C., was not even the slightest bit helpful on this exam.

You would think the professor who said class attendance was voluntary (I only missed one class all semester not counting the one I missed while I was in Annapolis) would test in a way that didn't involve classroom discussion heavily. Or, maybe he would make the first three questions, comprising one hour of the two and half allotted, on legal philosophies and our views on the effects of legal decisions on their respective fields, on the confusion of statutory language, and on the idiomatic references to federal common law, requiring that our views on these topics reflect only classroom examples. That would probably do a much better job of testing us on our knowledge of civil procedure. I hope that's what he did. Oh wait, that is what he did.

Nothing kills studying confidence and momentum like walking in the door knowing you're going to do well and walking out feeling like it's time to let go of your ankles (sorry parents for the graphic reference, I can't think of a more colorful way to explain it) and in the meantime finding out within 30 seconds of receiving your first final as a law student that even your best attempts at BS-ing won't do.

The only positive is that everyone says my professor doesn't ever fail anyone on anything. And my midterm grade in there (worth 30%) is very solid, top 10 in the class.

Regardless, I have Torts tomorrow. This is the test everyone warned us would be the doozy. So, if Civ. Pro. was the easy one (it was open note, while Torts is closed note), I'm really excited to find out what a difficult exam is like. At least this test is mostly multiple choice. Even if I'm clueless, I'm statistically required to get some points.

I'm still feeling good about Contracts on Tuesday, despite not having looked at my notes once for that test since classes ended. I did extremely well on the last midterm, which is being weighted pretty significantly (63/67.5), which was actually a 14/15 on multiple choice. Makes it so I have a little more wiggle room on the final.

Back to the frigid east coast in six days.

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