October 01, 2020

Res Gestae is now at http://theresgestae.com

Please be advised that as of WInter 2009, this is no longer the official website of Res Gestae, the student newspaper of the Law School.

Our new website is www.theresgestae.com. Please visit us there; it's way better!

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February 19, 2008

Preview: The Federalist Society Student Symposium, March 7th & 8th

Submitted by The Federalist Society

The law school experience often saddles students with blinders which limit their view of the judicial system to interactions between lawyers, judges, statutes, and the “common? law. This March 7th and 8th, the Michigan Federalist Society will challenge that perspective by asking what role “we the People? retain in our constitutional order. We are delighted to host the 27th annual Federalist Society National Student Symposium, a gathering of hundreds of conservative and libertarian law students which will explore questions about popular referenda, the democratic legitimacy of the common law, and the merits of electing our judges. Entitled “The People & The Courts?, we think the Symposium will host one of the most impressive group of speakers to converge on the Law School in some time, and we hope to see plenty of our non-Federalists friends turn out to hear them.

The Federalist Society National Student Symposium is an annual gathering of Federalists from around the country hosted at a different venue each year. This year’s Symposium will be held in our own Hutchins Hall on the afternoon of Friday, March 7th and throughout the day on March 8th. Guests will enjoy four panels, a debate, and presentations by over 25 law professors, legal commentators, and respected jurists, including our very own Sherman Clark, Doug Laycock, Richard Primus, and Brian Simpson. The festivities will culminate in a Saturday evening banquet and keynote address by Judge Janice Rogers Brown, one of President Bush’s most prominent appointments to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

We hope that the law school community will embrace the vibrant discussion that the Symposium will bring to Michigan. Introductory remarks will begin at 6:30pm on Friday, March 7th and attendees will end the evening with the opportunity to interact with speakers and guests from other schools at a reception at the Michigan League. Attendees will reconvene at 9:00am on Saturday for a full day of panels and speeches, culminating in the banquet reception with a speech by Judge Brown. Anyone interested in registering for the Symposium and/or Banquet should contact FedSocSymposium2008@gmail.com or visit http://students.law.umich.edu/federalist/symposium/, where you can find more information about the event.

Symposium Events Include:
• “Judicial Interference with Community Values? – A panel discussion inquiring whether judicial review homogenizes community norms and jeopardizes the existence of unique community traditions and values. Featuring Professor Richard Garnett (Notre Dame); Professor Roderick Hills, Jr. (NYU); Professor Douglas Laycock (Michigan); and Professor Amy Wax (Penn).

• “The Merits of Electing Our Judges? – This debate will discuss whether increasing “judicial activism? calls into question our system of appointing federal judges. Participants include Chief Justice Tom Phillips (retired from the Texas Supreme Court) and Justice Harold See, of the Alabama Supreme Court.

• “Kelo, Grutter, and Popular Responses to Unpopular Decisions? – Michigan students are already familiar with the role that popular referenda have assumed as a means of reacting to Supreme Court decisions. Panelists will discuss grassroots responses to the Kelo and Grutter decisions and the merits of these popular efforts to shape jurisprudence. Panelists include Professor Sherman Clark (Michigan); Mr. Ward Connerly (Founder, American Civil Rights Institute); and Professor Marci Hamilton (Cardozo).

• “The People’s Common Law: Is Law & Economics Anti-Democratic?? – This panel will explore whether the ascendancy of the “law and economics? movement threatens the right of the people to govern their own private relationships by imposing market-driven values such as efficiency on the civil law. Panelists include Professor Robert Ellickson (Yale); Professor Brian Simpson (Michigan); and Professor Henry Smith (Yale).

• “An Originalist Judge and the Media? – Justice Stephen Markman, of the Michigan Supreme Court, will speak on the proper task of an “originalist judge,? and whether media coverage aids the public in understanding what judges should do. Commentators include Professor Richard Primus (Michigan) and Pete Williams, NBC’s Justice Department and Supreme Court correspondent.

• “Tradition and the People’s Constitution? – The final panel will discuss the role that tradition should play in interpreting public law—especially Constitutional interpretation. Do Constitutional doctrines rooted in tradition preserve “who we are,? or do they instead restrict individual liberties? Panelists include Professor William Eskridge (Yale); Professor Thomas Merrill (Columbia); Professor Reva Siegel (Yale); and Professor Keith Whittington (Princeton).

We hope to see you there!

Preview: Sotheby’s. Christie’s. SFF.

Submitted by Mitch Holzrichter and Carolyn Grunst

This year’s SFF Auction—Thursday, March 13—will rival the best in the world, as bidders from throughout the Hutchins community compete for unique items and priceless experiences.

This year’s Auction will feature almost 200 items, more than in any other year. Bidders of all income-levels will find something for them: from Tigers tickets to a luxury golf package in Arizona.

The crème-de-la-crème item this year, as in past years, is a lunch for four students with Judge Richard Posner. Professor Brian Simpson has again generously arranged for Michigan students to meet with this living god of the Seventh Circuit. The Posner lunch will be the final item auctioned during the Live Auction in Hutchins room 100.

New this year, to give Judge Posner a run for his money, SFF bidders have the opportunity at a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a liberal lion of the Ninth Circuit: Chief Judge Alex Kozinski or Judge Stephen Reinhardt. Judge Kozinski and his guest will join a Michigan student and his or her guest for dinner and the world premiere production of the drama “Of Equal Measure,? in Los Angeles on Friday, July 25th. Judge Reinhardt and his wife, Ramona Ripston, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California, will join a Michigan student and his or her guest for dinner and the world premiere production of the play “Keep Your Pantheon,? in Los Angeles on Friday, June 6th. Who knows: maybe they’ll still be looking for clerks?

For those students who aspire to more than Circuit Courts, Alumna Heidi Bond (MLS ’06), a clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, will give the winning bidder and three guests an insider’s tour of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

For the golfers (or sun bathers) among you, the Biltmore Country Club in Phoenix, Arizona, one of America’s most luxurious resort destinations, offers a two-night stay, with two rounds of golf, a $400 air travel gift card, and a 90-minute ride in a new Cessna, for the winning bidder and his or her guest.

Not to be outdone, the MLS faculty has once again put forth a variety of generous and unique experiences and gifts. Prof. Reimann will again take a lucky student sky-diving, where he’ll explain transnational law while free-falling from 10,000 feet. Second-degree black-belt holder Prof. Len Neihoff will use his powers for good: he’ll teach the winning bidder and friend self-defense in a private two-hour class. Be warned: Prof. Niehoff tells us that ethics rules don’t apply!

Of course there will be iPods, gift certificates to local restaurants, and tickets to shows, plays, and games, at all price levels, thanks to the generosity of Michigan students, faculty, and staff, Ann Arbor community businesses, and law firms from across the country.

The silent auction begins at 5:30 in Hutchins Hall, with the (open-bar!) LSSS Faculty-Student Wine and Cheese. The Live Auction begins at 7:00 in Hutchins room 100, during which time eight highly-qualified faculty auctioneers will entertain you and take your money.

This year marks SFF’s 30th Anniversary. Last year, SFF provided approximately $200,000 to Michigan students working in public interest jobs during the summer. The Auction contributes about a third of the available funding.

In order to increase the number of grants available to Michigan students, and to ensure the continuing financial stability of the organization for years to come, SFF has begun the first-ever SFF Endowment. To help build this Endowment—and to raise additional funds for this year’s class of grant recipients—SFF has developed new fundraising programs and improved those already existing.

With the continued support of the Michigan community, SFF hopes to one day fund every Michigan law student working in the public interest. You can do your part: come drink, bid, and be a part of a great MLS tradition!

Mitch Holzrichter and Carolyn Grunst are 3Ls and members of the SFF Board.

December 04, 2007

Stress Free Finals: It’s Possible

By Sumeera Younis

Finals are upon us and although they can be tough, it is ok not to be freaking out, not to be depressed and not to feel like you are an alien because you haven’t been outlining for the last two months. Having been through three rounds of finals so far I have learned some things about the process; perhaps the most shocking being that I have actually learned to have fun studying for finals.

Step 1. Find a Study Buddy

There is a lot of talk about study groups in law school but I have found I do my best work when I have a study buddy. This person doesn’t necessarily have to be in your classes or even in your year. Rather they are someone who is on the same study schedule as you. Think of it like a work out buddy. They can help motivate you to be in the library by a certain time, set goals with you, and you can take breaks together. This will help structure your days and establish a routine that will keep you productive.

Step 2: Eat Like You Mean It

Although food is always pretty wonderful, during finals it can serve as the perfect distraction and motivator. You and your study buddy can take in all that South University and State Street have to offer during lunch-time. (May I recommend the lentil soup at Rendevous, the pancakes at Mr. Greeks, and the chicken parmesan panini at Zas.) Having a fun lunch outing every day will help break up your schedule, keep your brain strong and make you happy.

Snacks are also important. Something I enjoy doing around finals is going to the grocery store and loading up on snacks. I get lots of raw peanuts, candy, and energy drinks. By spoiling myself around this time, it makes me have happy associations with finals and helps me stay focused and energized while I am working. (Beware of some of the energy drinks because they will make you crash; try to balance them with Gatorade or water)

Having a good dinner will help you get through the last hours of the nights and if you like cooking it can be incredibly relaxing to spend a little time in the kitchen a couple of times a week. That way you can control your food so you are eating healthy and also have some time to yourself to listen to music and to dance while you cook. Grab a coffee and head back to school to log in your final hours.

Step 3: Take Breaks

Although you might feel like you need to be studying all the time and may think that taking breaks will make you fail out of law school, you need to have some time just to relax. Try to make the most of your time studying by minimizing the time you spend browsing the internet, or the countless hours you spend complaining about professors or other students once finals stress begins to loom. Instead, pool that time so you can watch a funny movie. If you feel too guilty doing that, then just watch a lawish movie such as Michael Clayton or the Pelican Brief and pretend that counts as studying. If you think a movie is too much of a commitment, then watch a quick episode of a show you like. May I recommend Arrested Development -- particularly season two.

Step 4: Stay Physically Strong

One of the biggest complaints I heard during finals last year was people complaining of eye strain. My optometrist says there are two key things you need to do to minimize eye strain and prevent long damage to your peepers. First, remember to have good posture while you are reading or writing. Second, give your eyes a break every fifteen minutes or so by looking around and stretching out your eyes.

Also, don’t sacrifice sleep (unless you normally don’t need much) to study. You will study yourself into the ground when you would do better if you just got your rest at night or took a quick nap and came back to the work later.

Step 5: Stay Mentally Strong

Finals can be depressing if you let them. The power of positive thinking is never more important than at finals. Give yourself positive reminders of your accomplishments and your capabilities. You made it to the most amazing law school in the world; if Sarah Zearfoss thought you were cool, you must be pretty sweet.

Also, make sure to maintain relationships outside of law school at this time. This is a good time to put in a long overdue phone call to Mom, Dad or another best friend. Talking to people who know you outside of law school will help you keep your perspective and help keep you balanced.

Step 6: Vary Your Surroundings:

Studying for finals can become like one long endless task unless you break up your routine and change the places where you study. Try studying at home, at a coffee shop, at the graduate library or on North campus. (You even might pick up a hot med student if you hang around enough!) I have also found that the third floor of Hutchins Hall is amazingly quiet in the late hours of the night and have opted to study there on nights when the second floor student lounge gets too festive. Finally, avoid the library if you get psyched out or start feeling claustrophobic.

Law school grades matter a lot. But the person you are and the way you live your life matters more. Enjoy what you are doing, put in the effort you need to do well, but don’t forget the bigger picture.

Exam & Study Tips: To Stress or Not To Stress

By Erin Opperman

What is my number one recommendation for keeping sane as a 1L during finals? Hang out with 2Ls. They already have jobs, they don’t care… talk to them about where they are in the study process, and you will realize that you’re way more prepared than they are. At least momentarily it will make you feel like you’re ahead of the game. The scary thing about finals the first semester is that we don’t know what to expect, and like when you go around that first dark corner on the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland, nothing is worse than that big looming question of “what the fuck is gonna happen next?? But, if you don’t know any 2Ls, or the 2L you do know is one of the rare breed that is still a gunner after his first year, here are some tips for making it through the next few weeks without wanting to pound on Dean Z’s door and demand that she explain why she hates you so much as to have ever admitted you in the first place.

Stress feeds on stress, and it has been scientifically proven that the hormones released from the adrenal glands when you’re stressed inhibit the formation of new memories and the retrieval of old ones. So do your memories a favor and chill out. Have a beer, go for a run, or sleep in late and skip Contracts (just kidding, Professor White!). But in all seriousness, not stressing at all is impossible, and when I saw my very experienced, very together friend freak out the other day, I knew all bets were off. According to Professor William Miller, stress is useful, and giving yourself a false sense of security with those 100 page outlines is counter-productive. Prof. Miller says that has “always had my doubts about those crazed outlines about as long as the casebook. They seem to give people a sense of security, but a sense of security ain’t always the best thing to have -- it may undo the useful anxiety that prompts the adrenaline that you need to be firing on all cylinders in the exam.? So maybe a balanced approach works best. Don’t be arrogant and go into an exam thinking that because your professor gave you an affirming nod every time you spoke in class you’re on your way to a sure A, but at the same time, don’t think because you’re confused or haven’t done the 20 practice exams your classmates say they’ve done, you’re doomed.

Preparing for the Exam

With regard to the outlines, whether they’re useful or not, like everything else in law school, depends on the person. If you go that route, there are varying ways to create one. You can start from scratch, go through your briefs, class notes, or the different color highlights in your book and compile three months of information into a neat and understandable little (or not so little) outline. The upside of starting from scratch is that the act of creating the outline is the studying; by the time you finish you will probably remember, and hopefully understand, most of what you went over this past semester. The downside of starting from scratch is that not many (if any) of us have the enormous amount of time that it takes to outline. On the other hand, everyone knows at least one upperclass(wo)man who has had or knows someone who’s had your professors: email your FYI leader, who has hopefully been sending you “outline goodies,? and start from there. Professor Jill Horwitz says that with outlines, you should start broad and make them more concise as you understand more, and more than one 2L I spoke with said that what worked for them was taking a couple of outlines that they found helpful, compiling them, and then adding in their own notes. This in itself will also be studying and will hopefully leave you enough time to go over them again, along with any other supplements you may think are important. Once you refresh your memory, review your material, and realize you do understand what 2-207 says (ok, not what it says, but that it is the section you’re least likely to understand), you can go on to the next step: practice tests.

Every 2L and 3L I spoke with, along with the majority of the professors, say that practice tests are the most helpful study method. Law school exams aren’t about memorization and regurgitation; they are about understanding what your professor is looking for on the exam. According to Professor James White, every subject has limited issues and the same ones will repeat themselves on tests, so if there are tests available from the past four years, look at them! The best way to do this is by getting old exams from the UM Law Library website, upperclass(wo)men, or the professors themselves. Go over them with your classmates, specifically classmates who will bring a different perspective than you to the discussion. Professor White also says it isn’t what is on your outline you should pay attention to. It’s what comes up when you go over a practice exam that isn’t on the outline that you should write down. I should note, I have been advised several times that it is good to look at practice exams well in advance of the final -- both so you can ask your soon-to-disappear professor any questions you may have, and so you know what to focus on during review itself.

Taking the Exam

The critical task on exams is, given the facts in your ever-so-long hypothetical, to spot those elusive issues. Professor Christina Whitman says that “learning the arguments for and against ‘the rules’ [that apply to a given issue] is at least as important as learning the rules themselves. Then, when taking the exam, consider whether the facts or proposal before you can be used to show the force (or the irrelevance) of the arguments or the purposes served.? Both White and Whitman state that the first thing to do is to organize your answer. Whether you make notes, a short outline, or different patterns of circles and squares, have some idea of what you are going to say in your answer before you write so recklessly that you get lost in your labyrinth of the Model Penal Code. Both professors and upperclass(wo)men alike say to use concise but poignant topic sentences. Don’t just state what the rules are (the professor already knows -- and may have written them), but apply them to the facts in a way that shows your professor that you know what they mean. At the same time, use cases, statutes, and applicable codes to anchor your professor to your analysis.

Another important thing is to manage your time. Both small and large-scale time management is key during an exam. On each single question, consensus is, spend 30% of your total time organizing your answer before writing anything down. For the total exam, if professors have not given you suggested or firm time limits for each question (or groups of questions), then look through the exam briefly before you start and set your own time limits. The idea is to give yourself time to answer everything. Whitman says, “Leave enough time for the last question. Almost everyone cuts it short on that one, so it’s a good place to pick up points that distinguish you from your classmates. And it shows you have discipline!?

When it comes down to it, you’ll never have enough time to do everything you want to in preparation, nor write about everything you think of on an exam. A certain 3L I know shared a very encouraging story with me, explaining that on her very first law school final, she freaked out, only answered one essay question completely, and still passed. So, resolve to do your best, accept that grades may or may not reflect your understanding of the subject, and take solace in the fact that you go to an amazing law school. And really, unless you’re looking to succeed Dean Caminker, you will get the job you want anyways.